March 14, 2020
Tehran on Friday warned US President Donald Trump against taking “dangerous actions” after American forces waged a series of airstrikes against an Iran-backed militia in Iraq that it blamed for a major rocket attack a day earlier.
“Instead of dangerous actions and baseless accusations, Mr. Trump should reconsider the presence and behavior of his troops in the area,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement, hours after the US strikes.
The Pentagon said that the strikes appeared limited in scope and narrowly tailored, targeting five weapons storage facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah militants, including stores of weaponry for past attacks on US-led coalition troops.
In a statement, Iraq’s military said the US airstrikes hit four locations in Iraq that housed formal Iraqi police and military units, in addition to the paramilitary groups.
Three Iraqi army soldiers were killed and four wounded, police in Babel province said in a statement. Five paramilitary fighters and one policeman were also injured, they said, adding that the fate of two more policemen was unknown.
One strike hit an Iraqi civilian airport under construction in Kerbala and killed a worker, Iraqi religious authorities said on Friday.
The US military did not estimate how many people in Iraq may have been killed in the strikes, which officials said were carried out by piloted aircraft.
In a sign of concern that tension between the United States and Iran could be headed toward open conflict, the Democratic-led US House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to limit Trump’s ability to wage war against Iran.
The Republican president has been engaged in a maximum-pressure campaign of renewed sanctions and near-constant rhetoric against Iran, after pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal struck under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.