US ‘strikes’ target pro-Iran militia bases in Iraq, Syria
In this file photo from April 17, 2017, US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fire artillery in support of Iraqi forces fighting ISIL from their base east of Mosul [File: Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo]
In this file photo from April 17, 2017, US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division fire artillery in support of Iraqi forces fighting ISIL from their base east of Mosul [File: Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo]

The US military has carried out “defensive strikes” in Iraq and Syria against the Kataib Hezbollah armed group, the Pentagon said, 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 on Sunday.

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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.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian-backed forces for a series of attacks on bases in Iraq and warned Iran that any attacks by Tehran or proxies that harmed Americans or allies would be “answered with a decisive US response.”

SOURCE:
News agencies

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