Iraq’s Kataeb Hezbollah rebukes US for strikes

Iraq’s Kataeb Hezbollah rebukes US for strikes
Iraq’s Kataeb Hezbollah rebukes US for strikes

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People inspect a vehicle, after what security sources said was a deadly drone strike, in Baghdad February 7, 2024. — Reuters pic

BAGHDAD, Feb 10 — Iraqi armed group Kataeb Hezbollah lashed out at the United States yesterday for strikes it carried out in the country, including one that killed a senior commander in the group.

On Wednesday evening, a drone strike in Baghdad killed Abu Baqir al-Saadi, accused by the US military of being “responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces” in the Middle East.

It came after Washington launched multiple strikes in Iraq and Syria last week against elite Iranian forces and pro-Tehran armed groups in retaliation for a January 28 drone strike that killed three US military personnel in Jordan.

Since mid-October, pro-Iran armed groups have launched dozens of rocket and drone attacks against US and other international anti-jihadist coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

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“For the blood of our commanders and fighters that was spilt, the responsibility lies with America and those who refuse or hinder the departure of its occupying forces from Iraq,” Kataeb Hezbollah said in a statement.

“Let them know that our nation will not forsake the blood of its martyrs, and that its men remain determined for combat,” the group added.

More than 165 attacks have been launched against US troops in Iraq and Syria since mid-October, following the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

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The majority of those attacks have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, including Kataeb Hezbollah, angered by US support for Israel.

Kataeb Hezbollah, classed as a terrorist organisation by Washington, is subject to sanctions and has been struck multiple times by the United States military.

US officials have said the attack in Jordan bore “the hallmark” of Kataeb Hezbollah.

With the United States promising reprisals for the death of its soldiers, Kataeb Hezbollah announced at the end of January that it had suspended operations against US forces.

Baghdad, angered by multiple US strikes in recent months, said talks with Washington would resume tomorrow to discuss the future of the coalition’s presence in Iraq.

Iraq’s government has repeatedly called for their departure in recent weeks.

The international force was deployed to Iraq at the government’s request in 2014 to help combat the Islamic State group, which had taken over vast swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

The United States currently has around 2,500 troops deployed in Iraq. — AFP

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