- Paramilitary bases hit after drone attack wounded three US personnel in northern Iraq on Monday
WASHINGTON (Agencies): The US military carried out strikes on three sites used by Iran-backed forces in Iraq on Monday after an attack wounded three American personnel the previous day, drawing a protest from the Iraqi government.
The US strikes hit bases of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a state-linked paramilitary organisation, in the cities of Hilla, Juraf Al Sakhar and Suwaira in central Iraq, according to posts on Telegram channels linked to Iran-backed Shiite militias.
The Iraqi government condemned the “targeting of Iraqi military sites by the US” as an “unacceptable infringement to the Iraqi sovereignty”, Maj Gen Yahya Rasool, a military representative for Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, said.
He said one paramilitary member was killed and 18 others wounded, including civilians.
“It is a clear and unconstructive hostile act that doesn’t help the long-term joint interests in establishing security and stability, and contradicts the declared desire by the US to enhance relations with Iraq,” Brig Gen Rasool said.
He warned that “this step negatively affects bilateral relations between the two countries and complicates avenues for reaching understandings through mutual dialogue to end the presence of the [US-led] International Coalition” against ISIS.
A video on social media showed the site in Hilla littered with debris and a car in flames as firefighters battled to put out fire. A dormitory of the city’s university nearby was damaged.
Another video showed several wounded men on stretchers receiving treatment.
Washington has repeatedly targeted sites used by Iran and its proxy forces in Iraq and Syria in response to dozens of attacks on American and allied forces in the region since the October 7 outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“US military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataeb Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq,” Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
“These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataeb Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Erbil Air Base earlier today,” he said.
Three US military personnel were wounded, one critically, in the drone attack, US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.
It came hours after Iran announced that a commander in its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Brig Gen Razi Mousavi, had been killed in a suspected Israeli strike in Syria.