The Pentagon said it launched airstrikes in Iraq on Monday night, targeting three facilities used by the Shia militia Kataib Hezbollah and its affiliates after a drone attack on a US base wounded three American troops, leaving one in critical condition.
The Iraqi government strongly condemned the US airstrikes as “an unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty” and said one security serviceman was killed and 18 other people were injured, including civilians. Iraqi sources told Reuters that one Kataib Hezbollah fighter was killed in the strike.
Kataib Hezbollah is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a state-sponsored coalition of mostly Shia Iraqi militias that was formed in 2014 to fight ISIS.
The Iraqi government also condemned attacks on US forces but wants the US to cooperate with it to find the perpetrators rather than launch unilateral airstrikes. “It is a clearly hostile, unconstructive act that does not serve the interests of long-term common interests,” the government said of the US strikes.
Since mid-October, US forces have come under attack over 100 times in Iraq and Syria due to President Biden’s full-throated support for the Israeli onslaught on Gaza. An umbrella group of Iraqi Shia militias known as the Islamic Resistance of Iraq has taken credit for most of the attacks, including the one that wounded three US troops on Monday, which targeted a base in Erbil.
The US has launched several rounds of airstrikes against Shia militias in Iraq and Syria since October, but they have not deterred the groups from launching more attacks. Al Mayadeen reported that another attack targeted a US base in Syria on Tuesday.