Iraqi army says five soldiers and a civilian killed in US strikes

US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — The Iraqi army announced that the American strikes that targeted, according to the Pentagon, pro-Iranian military factions in Iraq early Friday, killing five soldiers and a civilian, which increases tension in a country where strikes intensify on American interests.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned “American aggression” and summoned the ambassadors of the United States and Britain.

The army said in a statement that among the dead were three soldiers and two members of the emergency regiment, adding that 11 Iraqi fighters were wounded, some of them seriously.

The civilian killed as a chef working at an airport near Karbala is still under construction, while another civilian was injured.

Airport media official Ghazwan Al-Issawi confirmed to Agence France Presse the death of the chef, adding that the airport had suffered material damage.

“Five rockets fell on the administrative building at the airport, resulting in material damage and the destruction of 18 cars,” Al-Issawi told AFP.

“We are awaiting the arrival of the security services for investigation.”

The strikes began around 1:00 a.m. Friday (22:00 GMT Thursday), targeting, according to the Pentagon, five weapons storage sites belonging to the PMF.

The strikes came in response to a missile attack on a military base on Wednesday evening that resulted in the deaths of three American soldiers and a British female soldier.

And the attack that took place on Wednesday is the twenty-second attack on American facilities in Iraq, but the bloodiest.

And American diplomatic offices were attacked, as well as the bases where 5,200 American soldiers are deployed in Iraq.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of the United States and Britain.

The Iraqi government quickly condemned the missile attack.

The Iraqi army said that the American attack is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty that would lead to “escalation and deterioration of the security situation in the country and expose everyone to more risks and threats.”

– “Successful” –

Friday, the US military described its air strikes in Iraq as “successful”, announcing that it would keep two aircraft carriers in the region to respond to the Iranian threat.

“We consider it a success at all levels and we are very satisfied with the scale of the damage that was left,” said the commander of the US military’s Central Command, which includes the Middle East and Central Asia.

General McKinsey explained that the strikes were carried out by fighter jets and not drones, adding, “I do not have numbers yet … but we believe that the collateral damage will be very limited.”

“I repeat that these defensive strikes aimed at destroying advanced conventional weapons provided by Iran and the United States, which moved under the slogan of self-defense in response to a direct and deliberate attack on an Iraqi base that includes coalition forces,” McKinsey added.

He stressed that the threat of the Iranian regime “remains very great” and said “I do not think that the tension has subsided” since the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the beginning of January in an American strike near Baghdad airport.

McKinsey noted that he obtained from Defense Secretary Mark Asper permission to keep two aircraft carriers in the region for the first time since 2012, and said, “We have the flexibility, the ability and the intention to respond to any threat.”

This military escalation marks a new chapter in the tension between Tehran and Washington in Iraq.

Iraqi forces continue to carry out operations with coalition forces against the jihadists, but the Iraqi parliament recently voted to withdraw 5,200 American soldiers from the country, and this measure still requires the government to implement it.

After the coalition announced the suspension of its operations in Iraq because of the tension between Tehran and Washington, Sunday lost two of its American elements in battles against the jihadists.

On Friday, Iraqi President Barham Saleh condemned the American strikes, saying that they were “a violation of the sovereignty of Iraq,” and called for the country not to be turned into a “battlefield for others.”

The al-Najaba faction in the pro-Iranian crowd called for the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, threatening to intensify pressure on American forces.

For its part, Tehran warned US President Donald Trump against any “dangerous step” and demanded that he “reconsider the presence and behavior of his forces in the region.”

On Wednesday evening, as the coalition announced that it had lost three of its operatives in Taji, air strikes targeted other locations of Iraqi pro-Iranian factions inside Syrian territory.

The Americans confirmed that they had not launched these strikes, which killed at least 26 Hashd fighters.


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