Iraq condemns US strikes, calls it ‘violation of sovereignty’
Baghdad [Iraq], February 3 : After the US airstrikes targeting militia positions in both Iraq and Syria, the spokesman for the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces said these strikes come at a time when Iraq is “striving to ensure stability in the region,” Al Jazeera reported, citing local outlet Iraqi News Agency (INA).
“These strikes constitute a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, an undermining of the efforts of the Iraqi government, and a threat that will drag Iraq and the region into undesirable consequences, the consequences of which will be dire for security and stability in Iraq and the region,” INA quoted the spokesman as saying.
Meanwhile, Syrian state media accused the “US aggression” for the attacks, which according to them targeted Syria’s desert areas and those around the Syrian-Iraq border, resulting in a number of casualties, according to Al Jazeera.
Last week, The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition encompassing militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Harakat al-Nujaba, asserted accountability for a drone strike. The attack resulted in the death of three US military personnel and left numerous others injured at a base in northeast Jordan, situated close to the Syrian border.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden in a statement said that the US does not seek confilct in the Middle East but “if you harm an American, we will respond.”
“This past Sunday, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Earlier today, I attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base, and I have spoken with each of their families,” said Biden.
“This afternoon, at my direction, US military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack US forces. Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” he added.
“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” the US President also said.
US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday involved the participation of Air Force B-1 bombers, a defense official told CNN.
The B-1 is a long-range heavy bomber having the ability to deploy precision and non-precision weapons.
Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin had indicated a multi-tiered response, saying, “We have the ability to respond a number of times, depending on what the situation is.” The administration acknowledges the capabilities of Iranian-backed militias but asserts a superior strength in its ability to respond effectively, as reported by CNN.
“They have a lot of capability. I have a lot more,” Austin said referring to the Iranian-backed militias.
The airstrikes follow a drone attack by Iran-backed militants on a US military outpost in Jordan on Sunday, resulting in the tragic death of three US service members and the injury of over 40 others.