Iraq’s government on Wednesday blasted US airstrikes launched in the country against Shia militias, calling them a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
“We vehemently condemn the attack on Jurf al-Nasr, executed without the knowledge of Iraqi government agencies,” said Iraqi government spokesman Basem al-Awadi.
“This action is a blatant violation of sovereignty and an attempt to destabilize the security situation,” al-Awadi added.
The statement came after the US military announced it launched airstrikes early Wednesday against facilities south of Baghdad used by Kataib Hezbollah, a Shia militia that’s aligned with Iran. Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella group of Shia militias that formed in 2014 to fight ISIS, said eight of its fighters were killed in the US strikes.
About 24 hours earlier, a US AC-130 Gunship launched airstrikes against individuals the US claims were responsible for a ballistic missile attack on the Ain al-Asad airbase, which hosts US troops. US officials said the AC-130 killed three militants.
The AC-130 strikes were the first the US launched in Iraq since US troops in Iraq and Syria started coming under attack due to President Biden’s support for Israel’s onslaught in Gaza. According to the Pentagon, US troops have come under attack 66 times in Iraq and Syria since October 17.
The US previously launched three rounds of airstrikes in eastern Syria. Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon was aware launching strikes in Iraq could “exacerbate anti-American sentiment” in the country.
The US has 2,500 troops in Iraq, a presence many elements in Iraq strongly oppose. The Iraqi government said the airstrikes violated the agreement the US has with Baghdad to keep troops in the country.
“The recent incident represents a clear violation of the coalition’s mission to combat [ISIS] on Iraqi soil,”” the statement said. The government also condemned the frequent attacks on US troops and said it was the only authority that could punish the perpetrators.
Aftermath of US strikes on PMF group in Jurf al-Nasr, Iraq. pic.twitter.com/p3TRlAML8f
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“The Iraqi government is solely dedicated to enforcing the law and holding violators accountable, a prerogative exclusively within its purview. No party or foreign agency has the right to assume this role, as it contradicts Iraqi constitutional sovereignty and international law,” the statement said.
Thu, 11/23/2023 – 20:45