The commander of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia is vowing more attacks on US interests in Iraq after the US Embassy in Baghdad came under mortar fire.
On Friday morning local time, a multi-mortar attack was launched against the US Embassy compound in Iraq, a US official told CNN. There were no injuries or infrastructure damage reported. Hours later, US and coalition forces came under attack three more times – once in Syria, and twice in Iraq – in a mix of rocket and drone attacks.
The commander of the Iraqi Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Abu Alaa al-Walae, did not claim responsibility for the attacks, but said later Friday that they “reject talk about stopping or easing operations as long as Zionist crimes continue in Gaza and the American occupation continues in Iraq.”
Last month, the US Department of State designated Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada and its secretary general as specially designated global terrorists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said his government will “pursue the perpetrators of the attack” and “bring them to justice.”
In a statement released by his office on Friday, al-Sudani “stressed that targeting diplomatic missions is something that cannot be justified and cannot be accepted, under any circumstances and regardless of the allegations and illusions behind these shameful acts.”
The US called on Iraqi Security Forces “to immediately investigate and arrest the perpetrators” of the attack.
“The many Iran-aligned militias that operate freely in Iraq threaten the security and stability of Iraq, our personnel, and our partners in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Friday.
“Prime Minister Sudani rightly called these attacks acts of ‘terrorism,’” Miller noted.
“The Iraqi Government has repeatedly committed to protect diplomatic missions as well as US military personnel, who are present in the country at Iraq’s invitation. This is non-negotiable, as is our right to self-defense,” he said.
As of Friday morning, US and coalition forces have come under attack at least 82 times in Iraq and Syria since October 17. The attacks on Friday included multi-rocket attacks on Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq and Mission Support Site Euphrates in Syria, as well as a one-way drone attack on Al-Asad.
Attacks on US interests in the region have significantly increased since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, as the US bolstered its military presence as a sign of deterrence aimed at stopping the Israel-Hamas conflict spilling out into the region. Despite the regular attacks, the Pentagon has maintained that the message of deterrence is working.
“[W]hat we are focused on is preventing the crisis in Israel, as it relates to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, from expanding into the broader region,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said this week. “So far, it’s our assessment that that has been contained.”
From CNN’s Jennifer Hansler, Mohammed Tawfeeq, Benjamin Brown and Aqeel Najim contributed reporting.
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