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US strikes Iran-backed militia in Iraq after attacks on troops

An initial probe found that the strikes destroyed several facilities and likely killed a number of terrorists, according to CENTCOM.

U.S. Army soldiers, attached to Heavy Company, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, take cover behind their vehicle as small-arms fire opens up in the distance in Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 17, 2008. Credit: Spc. Kieran Cuddihy/U.S. Army photo.
U.S. Army soldiers, attached to Heavy Company, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, take cover behind their vehicle as small-arms fire opens up in the distance in Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 17, 2008. Credit: Spc. Kieran Cuddihy/U.S. Army photo.

The U.S. military conducted airstrikes targeting Kata’ib Hezbollah terror assets in Iraq, in response to multiple attacks against coalition forces in that country and Syria, U.S. Central Command announced early on Tuesday morning.

“U.S. military forces conducted airstrikes against multiple facilities used by Kata’ib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq at 8:45 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 25. Earlier in the day, Iranian sponsored Kata’ib Hezbollah terrorists and affiliated groups attacked coalition forces at Erbil, Iraq resulting in several injuries,” according to a statement by CENTCOM.

An initial probe found that the strikes destroyed several facilities and likely killed a number of Kata’ib Hezbollah terrorists. There were no indications that any civilian lives were affected.

“These strikes are intended to hold accountable those elements directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria and degrade their ability to continue attacks. We will always protect our forces,” said CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, terrorists attacked American assets across Iraq and Syria, including the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad, which was struck with seven mortar rounds.

It was the highest number of attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East in a single day since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7. It was also the first time in more than a year that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was targeted.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq took responsibility for the attacks. The umbrella group of Iranian-backed radical Shi’ite militias in Iraq is composed of Kata’ib Hezbollah, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhadaa.

Kata’ib Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the U.S. embassy compound attack. The terror group’s spokesman Abu Ali Alaskri declared that the rules of engagement against U.S. forces had changed, adding that the terror operations would continue until a full withdrawal of coalition forces.

Scores of American troops have been injured in dozens of attacks in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, according to the Pentagon. In retaliation, the U.S. military has on several occasions conducted strikes in both Iraq and Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously stressed that Washington “does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must stop.”

He went on to state that “Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces. We will not let them. If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”

Last week, Austin announced the formation of a U.S.-led multinational force to counter the maritime threat posed by Iran-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen.

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