BAGHDAD: US air strikes targeting Hezbollah Brigade and affiliated groups in Iraq claimed at least one life and drew an angry response from Baghdad Tuesday amid high regional tensions over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
Iraq condemned the US strikes as a clear hostile act, saying they had killed one member of the security forces and injured eighteen other people, including civilians, according to AFP.
Washington has repeatedly targeted sites used by such groups in Iraq and Syria in response to dozens of strikes on US and allied forces since the October 7 outbreak of the Gaza war.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that US military forces conducted proportionate and necessary strikes on three facilities used by Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq.
He said that these precision strikes were a response to a series of attacks against American personnel in Iraq and Syria by militias.
The strikes had included a drone attack Monday by Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Arbil Air Base, Austin said.
It injured three US soldiers, one critically, said US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.
US President Directs Attacks
President Joe Biden had directed the US attacks in a call with Austin and other national security officials, a statement said.
It said that Biden places no higher priority than the protection of US personnel serving in harm’s way. The US will act at a time and in a manner of its choosing should these attacks continue.
Hezbollah Brigades forms part of the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition of former paramilitary troops integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces.