Iraqi militia leader vows to avenge death of fighters killed in U.S. strike

Commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada Abu Alaa al-Walae speaks during an interview with AP in Baghdad, July 5, 2021. (AP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — An Iraqi militia leader has vowed to retaliate against the United States for the deaths of his men in a U.S. airstrike on the border on Iraq and Syria border, according to the Associated Press.

On June 27, U.S. Air Force planes carried out airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia positions near the Iraq-Syria border.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran in a statement named four members of the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada faction they said were killed in the attack on the Syria-Iraq border. They vowed to retaliate.

Commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada Abu Alaa al-Walae said in an interview with AP that his militiamen might use drones in the future attacks.

“We want an operation that befits those martyrs,” al-Walae said. “Even if it comes late, time is not important.”

“We want it to be an operation in which everyone says they have taken revenge on the Americans,” he added. “It will be a qualitative operation [that could come] from the air, the sea, along Iraq’s border, in the region or anywhere. It’s an open war.”

In apparent retaliation for the airstrikes, U.S. forces have come under fire in Syria and Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, since last Monday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base hosting U.S.-led Coalition troops was attacked by 14 rockets.

Coalition spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said two personnel sustained minor injuries in the attack which hit “the base & perimeter”.

Several houses of civilians and a mosque were damaged in al-Baghdadi area, where the rockets were fired.

In Syrian, the U.S.-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said al-Omar oilfield was targeted by a drone, but its forces alongside the Coalition forces thwarted the attack.

U.S. officials believe Iran is behind a ramp-up in increasingly sophisticated drone attacks and periodic rocket fire against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, where the U.S. military has been helping Baghdad combat the remnants of Islamic State.

Iran denied on Saturday U.S. accusations that Tehran supported attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

Iran’s envoy to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said: “Any claim to attribute to Iran… any attack carried out against American personnel or facilities in Iraq is factually wrong and void of the minimum requirements of authenticity and reliability.”

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