Iraq protest US retaliation strikes
US President Joe Biden (C) and First Lady Jill Biden (4-R) watch with the official party as a US Army carry team (L) moves a flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of US Army Sergeant Kennedy Sanders, off of a C-5 Galaxy military aircraft, during a dignified transfer of fallen US service members at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, USA, 02 February 2024. EFE-EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Iraq protest US retaliation strikes


Baghdad, Feb 3 (EFE).-

Iraq announced Saturday that it would summon the US charge d’affaires in Baghdad to deliver a formal protest over Washington’s airstrikes against pro-Iranian militia positions in western Iraq that caused 16 deaths, including civilians, according to local authorities.

“In protest against the American aggression that targeted Iraqi military and civilian sites, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will summon the Charge d’Affairs of the United States Embassy in Baghdad, Mr. David Perker, due to the absence of the American ambassador, to hand him an official note of protest regarding the American attack that targeted military and civilian sites in the Akashat and Al-Qa’im regions yesterday evening, Friday,” Iraq’s foreign ministry said in a statement

Earlier, Iraq denied that the US coordinated with the Iraqi authorities to carry out airstrikes against the positions of pro-Iranian militias in western Iraq in retaliation for the death of three US soldiers in Jordan, and accused Washington of “misleading international public opinion.”

“The American side intentionally engaged in deception and distortion of facts, stating coordination with Iraqi authorities for the perpetration of this aggression—an unfounded claim crafted to mislead international public opinion and evade legal responsibility for this condemned act, in violation of international laws,” Iraqi government spokesperson Basim al-Awadi said in a statement.

Al-Awadi’s remarks came after the US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that Washington previously warned the Iraqi government that it was going to carry out bombings in the west of the Arab country.

Al-Awadi said that the “blatant aggression” in the Akashat and Al-Qa’im regions near the Syrian border, “caused the tragic loss of 16 martyrs, including civilians, and 25 individuals sustaining injuries” as well as “significant losses and damage to residential buildings and citizens’ property.”

“This aggressive airstrike will push the security situation in Iraq and the region to the brink of the abyss, jeopardizing ongoing efforts to establish the necessary stability,” the spokesperson added.

“Iraq reiterates its rejection of turning its territory into a battleground for settling scores. It is imperative that all involved parties comprehend that our nation’s land and sovereignty should not serve as a stage for exchanging messages or a display of force by adversaries,” he said.

Al-Awadi warned that the US-led international coalition fighting against the Islamic State (IS) terror group “has become a reason for endangering security and stability in Iraq” as well as “a justification for entangling Iraq in regional and international conflicts.”

The Syrian defense ministry also slammed the US airstrikes.

“US occupation forces launched on Saturday a blatant aerial aggression on several sites and towns in the eastern region of Syria, near Iraqi borders, leaving many civilian and military martyrs, injuring others, and causing huge damage to private and public properties,” a military statement said.

The statement said the US attacks targeted an eastern region where the Syrian army is fighting remnants of the Islamic State militant group, alleging that “the US is involved and allied” with the Islamist group.

“The US aggression…has no justification, but it is an attempt to weaken the Syrian army’s capability to fight terrorism,” the statement added.

On Saturday morning, Washington announced that it had bombed more than 85 targets and facilities linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria and Iraq.

US President Joe Biden said the strikes were launched in retaliation for the drone attack that killed three American soldiers in Jordan on Jan 27.

A US Army carry team moves a flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of US Army Sergeant Breonna Moffett, during a dignified transfer of fallen US service members, at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, USA, 02 February 2024. EFE-EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

“The US does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. Let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

He said the American response would continue “at times and places of our choosing.”

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said numerous aircraft, including B-1 bombers, dispatched from the US were involved in the operation, firing more than 125 precision-guided munitions over about 30 minutes.

“The targets were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties and based on clear, irrefutable evidence that they were connected to attacks on US personnel in the region,” Kirby told reporters in a virtual joint press briefing with Lieutenant General Douglas Sims, the director of the Joint Staff.

The strikes were directed against an umbrella group of pro-Iranian militias called Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip has claimed responsibility for more than 150 attacks against US positions in Syria and Iraq.

However, the January-end drone strike that left three US soldiers dead in Jordan was the first to cause fatalities since the start of the attacks, which Washington accuses Iran of being behind.

Washington has previously bombed positions of these militias in both Iraq and Syria, but this is the largest operation against these groups so far, at a time of growing tension in the Middle East due to the opening of new fronts of the war in Gaza.

The previous US bombings in Iraq drew sharp criticism from the Iraqi government, which has called for an orderly negotiated withdrawal of coalition forces, present in the country since 2014 to fight against the Islamic State. EFE


No posts to display