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Iran Crisis - December 2019

US forces have faced a spate of rocket attacks in late 2019, blaming them on pro-Iran Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces) paramilitary factions.

al-Qaim Strikes al-Qaim Strikes

al-Qaim Strikes al-Qaim Strikes

al-Qaim Strikes al-Qaim Strikes al-Qaim Strikes

al-Qaim Strikes al-Qaim Strikes

The US military carried out "defensive strikes" in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah armed group, the Pentagon said 29 December 2019, two days after a US civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base. "In response to repeated Kata'ib Hizbollah (KH) attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces, US forces have conducted precision defensive strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH's ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces," chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

The targets - three in Iraq and two in Syria - included weapons storage facilities and command locations used to plan and execute attacks, the statement added. The US had accused the group of a rocket attack on Friday that killed a US civilian contractor and injured four US service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Hoffman said the raids carried out by the US would limit the group's ability to carry out future attacks on Americans and their Iraqi government allies. The Defense Department gave no details immediately on how the strikes were conducted.

U.S. airstrike target HQ of 45th & 46th Brigades of #Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) in Iraq. Abu Ali al-Khazali, close to #Iran's IRGC Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, was reportedly killed in the U.S. attacks targeting Tehran-backed Kataeb Hezbollah sites in al-Qaim, a town in Iraq adjacent to the Syria border.

Although this was the first time the United States has officially claimed responsibility for attacks on al-Hashed al-Shaabi bases, this is not the first attack on these sites. In recent months, Iraq's al-Hashed al-Sha'abi positions have been targeted repeatedly by anonymous aircraft. Earlier, Iraqi parliamentarians had said that the United States and Israel were behind the attacks. Al-Hashed al-Shaabi was formed in 2008 in response to an Iraqi authority's fatwa aimed at fighting the terrorist group ISIS. In recent years, US officials had expressed concern about the growing popularity and promotion of the group's position in the Iraqi Armed Forces, and many of its figures have been on the sanctions list.

Iraqi Hezbollah battalions released a statement in response to US attacks. Hezbollah battalions said in a statement: The evil American crows have launched a rape that targeted our western frontier forces. This American aggression is disregard for Iraq's sovereignty and the dignity of its people. Iraqi Hezbollah battalions called for military and security forces and grassroots and national bases to expel the American enemy from the country to create a new page of dignity.

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Page last modified: 03-01-2020 15:15:05 ZULU