December 29, 2019
An Iranian-backed militia has vowed revenge for U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 militants.
The United States said on December 29 that it had conducted “precision defensive strikes” against five targets in Iraq and Syria controlled by the Kataib Hizballah, also known as the Kataib Brigades.
The caretaker Iraqi government in power since Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation, meanwhile, warned on December 30 it might “review” its relations with the United States.
“American forces acted on their political priorities, not those of the Iraqis,” AFP quoted the government as saying in a statement.
An unnamed senior official at the U.S. State Department said later of Iraqi authorities that it was “their responsibility and duty to protect us. And they have not taken the appropriate steps to do so,” according to AFP.
“We have warned the Iraqi government many times, and we’ve shared information with them to try to work with them to carry out their responsibility to protect us as their invited guests,” the agency said the official told reporters in Washington.
The Pentagon said three of the locations it struck were in Iraq and two in Syria, and that the strikes were in response to repeated Kataib Hizballah attacks on Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops.
It singled out a December 27 rocket barrage in the northern city of Kirkuk that killed one defense contractor and injured four U.S. service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Kataib Hizballah, which said on December 30 that 25 of its fighters were killed by the U.S. strikes, has denied being behind the attacks.