USA calls strikes in Iraq, Syria 'successful'

USA calls strikes in Iraq, Syria 'successful'

Iraqi security sources said at least 25 fighters of the Kataib Hezbollah group were killed and more than 50 wounded in Sunday's strikes. U.S. officials have for the most part blamed Iran-backed fighters for these attacks.

The US blames the militia for a rocket barrage Friday that killed a US defence contractor at a military compound near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq. "We strongly responded, and always will".

At least 25 fighters died when the U.S. bombed bases associated with Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria on Sunday. This raises serious doubts about United States claims that the PMU would attack an Iraqi Army base in the first place, and U.S. attacks on PMU bases are effectively an act of war against Iraq.

Pompeo told reporters after a briefing with Trump on Sunday that the step taken by Washington in Iraq demonstrates US determination to give Iran "a clear answer" if it threatens the lives of the American soldiers.

"We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy", said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pentagon on Sunday said that it had struck three locations in Iraq and two in Syria controlled by Kataib Hezbollah.

U.S. officials say the Ketaib Hezbolah facilities were storage facilities, and accused the group of planning attacks on United States forces. Many Iraqi personnel was also injured.

They held up posters calling for the embassy to be shut down and for parliament to order U.S. forces to leave the country.

"Let's see if they continue attacking the Iranians", a senior Israeli intelligence official told Axios.

Four Katyusha rockets on Sunday hit a base that houses U.S. troops near the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a Interior Ministry official said.

Over 5,000 USA troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against Islamic State (IS) militants, mainly providing training and advising to the Iraqi forces. "In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!"

A Hashd Shaabi leader has threatened a "harsh response" against the US forces in Iraq in retaliation for the airstrikes.

Iraq, meantime, has been gripped by its biggest anti-government street protests since the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

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