16 killed, 25 injured in US airstrikes in W. Iraq

The Iraqi government said Saturday that the US airstrikes on the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces in western Iraq killed 16 people, including civilians, and injured 25 others.

Calling the airstrikes “blatant aggression,” government spokesman Basim al-Awadi told the official Iraqi News Agency that “the US administration violated Iraq’s sovereignty when its aircraft conducted airstrikes on the positions of our security forces in the Akashat and al-Qaim areas, as well as neighboring civilian places.”

Al-Awadi also denied reports that claimed there was coordination between the government and the US administration about the airstrikes, stressing that these reports are “a false claim aimed at misleading international public opinion and evading legal responsibility for this crime,” according to the INA.

He also said that the government believes that the presence of the international coalition forces on Iraqi soil has become a threat to security and stability in Iraq and a justification for involving Iraq in regional and international conflicts.

Al-Awadi warned that the recent airstrikes put security in Iraq and the region on the brink of the abyss, adding, “Iraq renews its refusal to make its lands an arena for settling scores.”

The US Central Command said in a statement on Friday that the US forces conducted airstrikes on more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and affiliated militia groups.

The US airstrikes came in response to recent attacks by Iranian-backed militias that caused the first US fatalities since the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on October 7, 2023.

Source: Xinhua   Editor: Zhu Qing

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