US Strikes Iran-Backed Militia Facilities in Iraq, Escalating Tensions

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The United States has conducted strikes on three facilities used by Iran-backed militia in Iraq, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The targeted strikes were in response to recent attacks against US and coalition allies in Iraq and Syria. The precision strikes were described as “proportionate” and aimed specifically at the Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups. However, these strikes have been criticized by senior Iraqi official Qassem al-Aaraji, who called them a “flagrant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.”

The US military’s Central Command (CentCom) did not disclose the exact locations of the targeted militia facilities. Kataib Hezbollah, a powerful Iraqi Shia militia receiving support from Iran, has been designated as a terrorist organization by the US since 2009. The group has been accused of attacking US and Iraqi forces in Iraq on behalf of Iran, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region.

These strikes come after a missile attack on Al Asad airbase last week, which caused injuries to several US military personnel. In response to the continuing attacks by Iran-aligned militants, Defense Secretary Austin emphasized that the US will take necessary action to defend its interests. He further called on these groups and their Iranian sponsors to halt the attacks immediately.

The US military has been frequently targeted by attacks from Iran-backed groups since the start of the Israel-Gaza war in October. Additionally, Washington and its allies, including the UK, have intervened to stop Houthi missile attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea. They have carried out strikes against the Iran-backed rebel group controlling western Yemen.

In recent developments, US forces conducted strikes against two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed at the southern Red Sea. These missiles posed an imminent threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region, leading to the strikes in self-defense.

The tensions in the region have escalated as the Iranian military carried out multiple missile strikes on targets in Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan over the past week. Amid these mounting tensions, the US and its allies remain prepared to defend against further threats in the region while seeking to dismantle and degrade ISIS.