US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has defended the bombing of pro-Iranian militants in Iraq and Syria, saying it served as a “strong deterrent message”.
“My hope is that last night’s raids have been heard and will deter any future moves,” Blinken said, describing his country’s stance as “self-defense to prevent further attacks.”
According to the US Department of Defense, the raids came in response to drone attacks carried out by the Popular Mobilization Forces on US targets in Iraq.
The Iraqi government condemned these air strikes, describing them as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.
And the US Department of Defense said that it launched air strikes on Sunday night on “three military sites belonging to the Iranian-backed militia in Syria and Iraq.”
She added that “military sites are used by the Iranian-backed militia to launch drone attacks on US forces in Iraq.”
This is the second raids launched by US forces on the Iraqi-Syrian border, by order of President Joe Biden, in response to targeting US forces in Iraq.
‘violation of sovereignty’
The Iraqi Council of Ministers, in an emergency meeting headed by Mustafa Al-Kazemi, issued a statement expressing its “strong condemnation and condemnation of the American bombing, which targeted a site on our border with Syria,” describing it as a “flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty, rejected by all international laws and covenants.”
The statement stated that the Council of Ministers is considering “resorting to all available legal options to prevent the recurrence of such attacks that violate Iraq’s airspace and territory.”
The council said that it refuses to make Iraq “an arena for settling scores, or using its lands and skies to attack its neighbors,” and that it is discussing with the American side the details of the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, which will be announced later.
US forces stationed in Iraq have been attacked by drones several times in recent months. Iran has denied any involvement with it.
About 2,500 US troops are stationed in Iraq, as part of an international coalition fighting the Islamic State.
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