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US launches ‘precise’ strikes on sites in Iraq in response to attacks targeting its bases

November 22, 2023 at 12:09 pm

This picture taken on July 8, 2021 shows a view of the Ain al-Assad air base hosting US forces in Iraq in the western Anbar province, a day after fourteen rockets were fired at the base [AYMAN HENNA/AFP via Getty Images]

The US Army yesterday announced that it launched “precision strikes” on two sites in Iraq, in response to attacks launched against its forces and coalition forces by Iran and Iranian-backed groups.

The US Central Command, Centcom, said in a post on X: “On the morning of November 22 in Iraq, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) forces conducted discrete, precision strikes against two facilities in Iraq. The strikes were in direct response to the attacks against US and Coalition forces by Iran and Iran-backed groups, including the one in Iraq on November 21, which involved use of close-range ballistic missiles.”

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced a strike in Iraq in response to an attack targeting American military personnel in the region, noting that its strike resulted in the death of many fighters in pro-Iranian militias.

The US Department of Defence spokesman, Patrick Ryder, said in a statement that after the Iraqi Ain Al-Asad base, which houses American soldiers, was attacked “using a close-range ballistic missile, which resulted in eight injuries and some minor damage to infrastructure,” a “US military AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defence strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iranian-backed militia personnel involved in this attack.”

He added: “This self-defence strike resulted in several enemy KIA [killed in action].”

Yesterday at dawn a drone strike targeted a vehicle belonging to a faction within the pro-Iran Popular Mobilisation Forces, west of Baghdad, two security sources reported to AFP, without being able to identify the perpetrators of the attack.

READ: Iraqi group bombs 2 US bases in Syria again

The two officials, who requested to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the drone bombing occurred before dawn in the Abu Ghraib area, about 30 kilometres west of the capital.

The car was part of a convoy of four cars, according to the sources, who reported that “one person was injured, and the car was damaged.”

In Washington, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh reported that US forces had been subjected to about 66 attacks since 17 October (32 attacks in Iraq and 34 in Syria).

She said that the attacks left approximately 62 Americans wounded, but this number does not include the eight wounded that Ryder referred to.

Most of these attacks were claimed by a group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, in statements on accounts on Telegram belonging to pro-Iran Iraqi armed factions.

The increase in the frequency of attacks against American forces in the Middle East is linked to the attacks launched by the Israeli occupation against the Gaza Strip since 7 October.