The leader of the Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah denied the group had any role in recent attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad. Early Thursday, three rockets were fired at the embassy, marking the fourth day in a row that US facilities in Iraq were targeted.
Kataib Hezbollah is a Shia militia under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a group of state-sponsored Iraq militias that formed in 2014 to fight ISIS. The US is quick to blame Kataib Hezbollah for attacks in Iraq, and both the Trump and Biden administrations have targeted the group with airstrikes in recent years.
“Targeting diplomatic missions is rejected by the Iraqi resistance, and its decision is to not even strike the evil American embassy military camp,” Kataib Hezbollah spokesperson Abu Ali al-Askary said in a statement, according to Newsweek.
While he said the group would not attack the embassy, Askary renewed calls to drive the US out of Iraq. Kataib Hezbollah recieves some backing from Iran, but that support is overblown by US officials and media outlets. Askary said Kataib Hezbollah’s resistance to the US occupation of Iraq was not motivated by any outside country.
“Fighting the occupation army is a purely Iraqi decision. No outside party has any involvement in it, and it will only stop with the withdrawal of the last soldier of the occupying forces,” he said.
The calls to expel the US from Iraq do not only come from the country’s Shia militias, but also Iraq’s parliament. In January 2020, after the US assassinated Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and PMF leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to expel US troops.
President Biden’s recent airstrikes against militia targets in Iraq and Syria have sparked the recent spate of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. US troops have also been under attack in Syria since the bombing. The US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said Wednesday that they thwarted an attempted drone attack at a base housing US troops in eastern Syria.