| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

Iraq condemns U.S. strikes that killed Iran-aligned militia members

The U.S. airstrikes south of Baghdad that killed eight members of the Iraqi paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah, which is affiliated with Iran, were denounced by the Iraqi government as a “dangerous escalation” that was not coordinated with the authorities.

Since Tuesday, the United States has launched two waves of strikes into Iraq in retaliation for over 60 attacks on regional forces by militias affiliated with Iran. During these strikes, a Kataib Hezbollah operations center and a command and control node were destroyed.

Until this week, the United States had been reluctant to retaliate in Iraq because of the delicate political situation in Baghdad, where they have sought closer cooperation, and in an effort to avoid regional spillover from the Gaza war.

The attacks began on Oct. 17 and have been linked by Iraqi militia groups to U.S. support for Israel in its bombardment of Gaza following attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel.

Kataib Hezbollah said the latest strikes killed eight of its members in its stronghold of Jurf al-Sakhar, south of Baghdad.

In a statement, it threatened to attack a wider array of targets if U.S. strikes continued.

  • Reuters