US strikes in Iraq and Syria target Iran-backed militia facilities

BBC News

Fighters from the Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah parade through Baghdad, Iraq. File photo

The US says it has carried out air strikes against Iran-backed militias near the Iraq-Syria border in response to drone attacks on its forces in Iraq.

A Pentagon spokesman said the strikes targeted “operational and weapons storage facilities” at three locations.

President Biden had been clear he would act to protect US personnel, he added.

A powerful Iraqi militia alliance, the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), said four members of one faction were killed and threatened to retaliate.

About 2,500 US troops are in Iraq as part of a global coalition supporting local security forces in their fight against the jihadist group, Islamic State (IS).

There have been at least five drone attacks against facilities used by US and coalition personnel since April, US officials say. Rockets have also been fired at them and supply convoys have been targeted by improvised explosive devices.

How have the militias responded?

The PMF – a coalition of mostly Iranian-backed Shia militias that was formed in 2014 to fight IS, and was incorporated into the Iraqi Security Forces three years ago – said the strikes killed four fighters carrying out an officially-sanctioned mission to prevent IS militants infiltrating Iraq.

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