Washington D.C / United States (13/3). US forces have carried out airstrikes near Baghdad in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed two Americans and a Briton on Wednesday, the Pentagon has confirmed.
In a statement, the Defence Department said the targets had been five weapon storage facilities run by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shia militia, and that the weapons would have been used to target US and coalition troops.
Informed sources at the Pentagon stated that the Iranian leadership may not having control over the radicals inside the huge Revolutionary Guard security apparatus and friction over what is Teheran’s foreign policy and what is the vision of the Revolutionary Guards differ.
“We hit a nerve”, said one contact in the Pentagon. “And we will continue to do so as long as these forces are a threat to U.S. interests, our allies and stability in the region.”
Teheran recognizes the dangers the region faces. Increasing popular pressure inside Iran shown in recent years that the new generation of Iranians do not want live in a regime restrictive compare to their peers in the region.
“The Revolutionary Guards like to hang on to power and accumulation of immense wealth which funds terrorism and instability in the region. It is unlikely the Revolutionary Guards will surrender power without a fight.”, the Pentagon officials added.
On Thursday the Pentagon said it believed that groups backed by Tehran were behind this week’s rocket attack on Camp Taji, near the Iraqi capital, which also wounded 14 people.
The Pentagon statement said: “These strikes were defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups who continue to attack bases hosting Operation Inherent Resolve coalition forces.”
Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, said: “The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies. As we have demonstrated in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region.”
Medic Lance Corporal Brodie Gillion, 26, has been named by the Ministry of Defence as the member of the British armed forces killed in the attack on Camp Taji on Wednesday evening. She was killed while volunteering as part of the Irish Guards Battle Group.
Her commanding officer said she was a “hugely popular character” in a tribute, adding he was “proud and humbled” to have served alongside her.
Lieutenant Colonel William Leek, Commanding Officer Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, said: “She was a larger than life soldier who was determined to deploy on operations, help others, develop herself and gain practical experience.
“She had already achieved a great deal in her relatively short time with us and it was abundantly clear that she was destined for great things in her civilian and military careers. Her loss is keenly felt.
“My deepest condolences go to her family and loved ones. They are in my thoughts and prayers, and those of the wider Regimental family.”
Earlier on Thursday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the attack would “not be tolerated”, while foreign secretary Dominic Raab said it was a “cowardly” act.
He added: “We will defend against these deplorable acts and hold those responsible to account.”
American forces also carried out airstrikes in December following an attack that killed a US contractor. That was seen as revenge for the US assassination in Iraq of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on 3 January.