Iran-backed militia in Iraq suspends attacks on US forces following deadly drone strike


BAGHDAD: The predominant Iran-backed militia in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah, declared on Tuesday the temporary suspension of its military operations against US forces, CNN reported.

This announcement comes just two days after a drone attack resulted in the deaths of three US service members and left 40 wounded in Jordan.

In an official statement, Kataib Hezbollah stated, “We are announcing the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces (US troops) in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.”

“We will continue to defend our people in Gaza in other ways, and we recommend to the brave Mujahideen of the Free Hezbollah Brigades to (carry out) passive defence (temporarily) if any hostile American action occurs towards them,” the statement added.

Kataib Hezbollah is recognised as the most powerful armed faction within the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which encompasses various Iran-backed militias in the country. The United States holds Iran responsible for supporting and arming these groups and has specifically implicated Kataib Hezbollah in the recent drone attack that claimed American lives.

When questioned about the militia’s statement, Pentagon press secretary Maj Gen Pat Ryder responded during a briefing, saying, “We’ve seen those reports. I don’t have a specific comment to provide other than that actions speak louder than words.”

This, however, isn’t the first time, as the US has previously launched airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, targeting Kataib Hezbollah and other groups linked to Iran, in response to attacks on American interests in the region. Despite these efforts, attacks have persisted, with US officials reporting approximately 166 instances of US troops in the Middle East being targeted since October.

In response to a drone attack in Jordan that claimed the lives of three US Army soldiers and left 40 injured, the White House emphasised a day ago that it was not actively seeking war with Iran but did not rule out the possibility of strikes within Iran.

In a White House press briefing on Tuesday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said, “We are not looking for war with Iran; we are not seeking a conflict with the regime in a military way. We’re not looking to escalate here. This attack over the weekend was escalatory; make no mistake about it — and it requires a response. Make no mistake about that. I will not get ahead of the president’s decision-making.”

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry refuted the claims of Tehran’s involvement in the attack on a US base in Jordan and said resistance groups decide and work on their own principles and priorities as well as the interests of their country and people, Iran’s state news agency, IRNA reported.

The drone attack on US outpost in Jordan marks the first instance of US troops being killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the commencement of the Gaza war, CNN reported. (ANI)

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