A US airstrike killed at least five Iraqi militia members in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province as the situation in the region is escalating following the resumption of Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Iraqi security sources told AFP that the strike targeted a site used by the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a state-sponsored coalition of mainly Shia militias that was formed in 2014 to fight ISIS.
According to Al Mayadeen, the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, a relatively new umbrella group of Iraqi Shia militias, said five of its members were killed in the strike. The group has claimed many of the recent attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria, including two earlier on Sunday.
A US official speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed the strike in comments to AFP, but it has not been officially announced by the Pentagon. “A self-defense strike was carried out on a drone staging site,” the official claimed.
US troops based in Iraq and Syria have been attacked over 70 times since October 17 in response to President Biden’s support for Israel’s onslaught in Gaza. There was a period of relative calm during the truce between Israel and Hamas, but attacks ramped up again when the pause ended on Friday.
The US has now launched several rounds of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in response to attacks on US troops. The situation will likely continue to escalate as the Islamic Resistance of Iraq is vowing to intensify attacks until US forces are “expelled, humiliated, and defeated from” Iraq.