Strikes hit Kataib Hezbollah in Babil

U.S. launches retaliatory strikes on militant groups in Iraq after attack on Erbil base

ERBIL, December 26 — The United States initiated a retaliatory strike against armed groups in Babil, Iraq on Monday, in response to an assault on coalition forces the previous day in Erbil.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reported in a late-night statement that three American soldiers sustained injuries in Iraq following a drone strike on a U.S. base by Iranian-backed militias and that retaliatory strikes targeted Kataib Hezbollah locations inside Iraq.

“These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Erbil Air Base earlier today, and intended to disrupt and degrade capabilities of the Iran-aligned militia groups directly responsible,” Austin said in a statement.

He added, “While we do not seek to escalate conflict in the region, we are committed and fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities.”

Yahya Rasul Abdullah, spokesperson for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, condemned the drone attack on forces at Erbil’s airport, describing it as a terrorist attempt to undermine Iraq’s security and international relations. He assured that the Iraqi security forces, bolstered by intelligence efforts, would actively pursue the culprits to ensure justice.