Militias in Iraq and Syria have defied American warnings and vowed to keep up the strikes
Iran-backed militias have attacked four US bases in Iraq and Syria in a 24-hour period, Al-Mayadeen news reported on Sunday. The attacks came after US forces launched airstrikes against Iranian targets in both countries in an unsuccessful bid to deter the militias.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq announced on Sunday that it had targeted the al-Shaddadi base in eastern Syria on Saturday with two drones, and launched rockets at another American base in the al-Omar oil field near Deir ez-Zor, Lebanon-based news channel Al-Mayadeen reported.
The strike on the al-Omar base set off secondary explosions inside the facility, Al-Mayadeen’s sources said. The channel’s sources also said that missiles were fired at an American base in Kharab al-Jir in northeastern Syria.
In Iraq, the Islamic Resistance said that its fighters had attacked the US base at al-Tanf, near the Syrian and Jordanian borders.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq is an umbrella term for Iranian- and Hezbollah-linked militias operating in the country. One of these groups, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, told Al-Mayadeen that the attacks are a response to US support for Israel’s ongoing air and ground campaign against Gaza.
The militias have carried out near-daily strikes on US bases in Iraq and Syria since Hamas fighters launched their surprise attack on Israel on October 7. All of the bases hit on Friday and Saturday had been struck multiple times in the preceding week, prompting the US to launch airstrikes on Thursday against bases in eastern Syria that US President Joe Biden claimed were used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and “affiliated groups.”
Following the airstrikes, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that US forces would “not hesitate to take further actions in our own self-defense” if American outposts continued to come under attack.
Instead of heeding Washington’s warning, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades announced on Thursday that it is willing to fight “a war of attrition against the enemy that will extend for years,” according to an earlier Al-Mayadeen report.
Speaking to Al Jazeera on Saturday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi revealed that the US had sent messages to the various anti-US and anti-Israel militias operating in the Middle East, warning them to stand down. Washington “received a practical and public answer on the ground,” Raisi added.
Iran denies ordering strikes on American bases, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stating on Friday that the militias act on their own initiative. However, he cautioned that “if the United States continues what it has been doing so far, then new fronts will be opened up against the United States.”