February 28, 2024

By Abdulrahman Zeyad and Ali Jabar | Related Press

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi militia official on Saturday hinted at a want to deescalate tensions within the Center East following retaliatory strikes launched by america towards dozens of web sites in Iraq and Syria utilized by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Hussein al-Mosawi, spokesperson for Harakat al-Nujaba, one of many fundamental Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, in an interview with The Related Press in Baghdad condemned the U.S. strikes, saying Washington “should perceive that each motion elicits a response.” However he then struck a extra conciliatory tone, saying that “we don’t want to escalate or widen regional tensions.”

Mosawi stated the focused websites in Iraq had been primarily “devoid of fighters and navy personnel on the time of the assault.”

Syrian state media reported that there have been casualties from the strikes however didn’t give a quantity. Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, stated that 23 individuals, all rank-and-file fighters, had been killed.

Iraqi authorities spokesperson Bassim al-Awadi stated in an announcement Saturday that the strikes in Iraq close to the Syrian border killed 16, together with civilians, and there was “important injury” to properties and personal properties.

A U.S. official stated Saturday that an preliminary battle injury evaluation confirmed the U.S. had struck every of its deliberate targets along with just a few “dynamic targets” that popped up because the mission unfolded, together with a surface-to-air missile website and drone launch websites. The official, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to supply particulars that weren’t but public, didn’t but have a casualty evaluation.

Iraq’s overseas ministry introduced Saturday it will summon the U.S. embassy’s chargé d’affaires — the ambassador being exterior of the nation — to ship a proper protest over U.S. strikes on “Iraqi navy and civilian websites.” The U.S. stated Friday it had knowledgeable Iraq of the approaching strikes earlier than they began.

The air assault was the opening salvo of U.S. retaliation for a drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan final weekend. The U.S. has blamed that on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias.

Iran, in the meantime, has tried to distance itself from the assault, saying that the militias act independently of its path.

Iraqi spokesperson al-Awadi condemned the strikes as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, notably since a few of them focused amenities of the Inhabitants Mobilization Forces. The PMF, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias, was formally introduced below the umbrella of the Iraqi armed forces after it joined the battle towards the Islamic State in 2014, however in follow it continues to function largely exterior of state management.

The Fashionable Mobilization Forces stated in an announcement Saturday that one of many websites focused was an official safety headquarters of the group. Along with the 16 killed, it stated 36 individuals had been wounded, “whereas the search remains to be ongoing for the our bodies of quite a lot of the lacking.”

The Iraqi authorities has been in a fragile place since a gaggle of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias calling itself Islamic Resistance in Iraq — a lot of whose members are additionally a part of the PMF — started launching assaults on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria on Oct. 18. The group described the strikes as retaliation for Washington’s help for Israel within the struggle in Gaza.

Behind the scenes, Iraqi officers have tried to rein within the militias, whereas additionally condemning U.S. retaliatory strikes as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and calling for an exit of the two,500 U.S. troops who’re within the nation as a part of a global coalition to battle IS. Final month, Iraqi and U.S. navy officers launched formal talks to wind down the coalition’s presence, a course of that can probably take years.

One of many fundamental Iran-backed militias, Kataib Hezbollah, stated it was suspending assaults on American troops following Sunday’s strike that killed the U.S. troops in Jordan, to keep away from “embarrassing” the Iraqi authorities.