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Iran-Backed Militia Coalition Says It Will Restart Attacks on U.S. Troops

AP
AP

By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation

A coalition of Iran-backed militants promised to resume “painful strikes” on U.S. troops based in Iraq and Syria in a statement on Friday following major U.S. counterattacks for the deaths of three soldiers.

The Islamic Resistance of Iraq, a coalition of militia groups that includes one deemed responsible for the Jan. 28 suicide drone attack on a U.S. base in Jordan, said it would suspend military operations on Jan. 30 as the U.S. threatened significant retaliation. Since U.S. forces did not vacate the region, “painful strikes and broad attacks” will come, the Islamic Resistance said in a statement.

“The opportunity that the Islamic Resistance today granted to the occupation forces to leave the Holy Land as a lifeline, it did not obtain yesterday,” a translation of the statement read.

The militants mourned the death of a senior militia leader of Kataib Hezbollah, one of the major groups in the coalition, at the hands of the U.S. military.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces killed Abu Baqir Al-Saadi in a targeted drone strike on Wednesday after the Pentagon assessed he planned and directed the deadly Jan. 28 attacks. Al-Saadi is the commander in charge of Kataib Hezbollah’s Syria operations, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. carried out a large-scale wave of strikes on Iran-backed militants in Iraq and Syria and the Iranian military command that oversees Tehran’s proxy operations on Friday in response to the Jan. 28 suicide drone bombing that caused the first U.S. fatalities since the escalation of attacks. A Iran-backed drone crashed into a living quaters on Jordan’s Tower 22 base, killing three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers and injured at least 40.

Biden administration officials at the time said more retaliation was to come.

“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” President Joe Biden said Friday after the first — and so far only — wave of strikes.

The Pentagon said the attack bore the “fingerprints” of Kataib Hezbollah but eventually attributed the operation to the Islamic Resistance broadly. Kataib Hezbollah then said it would stop military and security activities aimed at U.S. troops, Reuters reported, as the U.S. is preparing what appears to be a sweeping response to the deaths of U.S. military personnel.

The group said in the statement that it was motivated by a desire to “prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government” and instructed members to switch to “passive defense” against the activities of U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, according to Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.

Related Story: Iran-Backed Attacks are Hampering U.S. Counter-ISIS Mission in Iraq, Watchdog Report Says

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