Attacks on Iraqi forces show U.S. desperation: party chief

March 16, 2020 - 18:32

TEHRAN — The secretary-general of the Islamic Coalition Party said on Monday that the United States’ cowardly attacks against Iraq and its popular forces show the American rulers’ desperation.

“We ask the Iraqi nation, through their unity, to expel the occupying American forces as soon as possible,” Asadollah Badamchian said, according to Mehr.

The U.S. carried out airstrikes on Thursday and Friday against what it called multiple Iranian-backed militia sites in Iraq, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

The strikes came one day after the U.S. assessed “an Iranian-backed group” was responsible for a rocket attack on a base where coalition forces are located, killing two American service members and one British service member.

According to the New York Times, Iraqi military officials strongly condemned the United States military on Friday for airstrikes that killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and a civilian worker, and damaged an unfinished civilian airport.

American officials said Friday that the strikes had hit five sites where rockets and other weapons were stored by Kataib Hezbollah. But according to multiple Iraqi military officials, who until now had been largely supportive of the U.S. role in Iraq, the bombings killed members of the Iraqi military and police.

The UK government expressed support for the U.S. airstrikes, with the UK’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace saying “we support the right of the United States to defend themselves, as they have done tonight.”

The attack on Iraqi forces “presents no solution to control the situation,” but will “lead to escalation and deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, and expose all to more risks and threats,” the Iraqi military statement said. “It is an act against the Iraqi state and aggression on its sovereignty which strengthen the unlawful tendencies.”

The U.S. president told reporters on Thursday that he had been working on what to do about the attack which occurred on Wednesday night.

“They’ve sent a lot of rockets now. It hasn’t been fully determined it was Iran,” Trump said.

Afterwards, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassador of Switzerland, whose country represents the United States’ interests in Iran, to protest Trump’s unfounded claim that Iran was behind the attack on U.S. forces in Iraq.

“Following the U.S. president’s unfounded claim that Iran was responsible for the attack against a base of coalition forces in Iraq, the Swiss ambassador to Tehran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said late on Friday.

Mousavi said the Swiss ambassador was also informed that it was, in fact, the wrong policies of the U.S. in Iraq that has led to current tensions and that “American authorities, especially Mr. Trump, cannot shirk their responsibility through such unfounded, baseless and dangerous remarks.”

He also warned the U.S. of the consequences of any reckless action against Iran.

MH/PA

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