Iraq base attack: US launches retaliatory strikes on Iran-backed fighters

The US has launched retaliatory air strikes against a pro-Iranian militia group in Iraq, after a rocket attack killed two of its soldiers.

The strikes targeted five weapons storage facilities across the country, the US defence department said.

Two Americans and a British soldier were killed in Wednesday’s rocket attack on the Camp Taji military base.

Earlier, a US commander said an Iranian-backed militia group was likely to have fired the rockets.

“The Iranian proxy group Kataib Hezbollah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against US and coalition forces in Iraq,” Central Command chief Gen Kenneth McKenzie told a Senate committee.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the defence department confirmed that a series of “defensive precision strikes” were carried out by manned aircraft against Kataib Hezbollah facilities.

“These include facilities that housed weapons used to target US and coalition troops,” it said. “[The strikes] were defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups.”

“The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies,” Defence Secretary Mark Esper added. “We will take any action necessary to protect our forces.”

The US has accused Iran-backed militias of 13 similar attacks on Iraqi bases hosting coalition forces in the past year.

The killing of an American civilian in one…

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