Iran-Backed Militia Targets U.S. Bases in Iraq and Syria

On Oct 7, 2024, Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah attacked U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq, threatening to escalate regional tensions. The attack prompted condemnation and raised concerns about the stability of the region.

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Iran-Backed Militia Targets U.S. Bases in Iraq and Syria

Iran-Backed Militia Targets U.S. Bases in Iraq and Syria

On October 7, 2024, the Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah targeted U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq as part of a coalition aiming to expel American forces from Iraq. The attacks involved rockets fired from northern Iraq at a military base in Syria housing a U.S.-led coalition. Iraqi security forces launched a search operation and found the vehicle used in the attack.

This was the first major attack against the coalition forces in several weeks, coming amid tensions in the region between Iran and Israel. The strikes were part of a broader effort by a coalition of Iran-backed militias to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq. The U.S. holds Iran broadly responsible for arming and supporting the Iraqi militias and has singled out Kataib Hezbollah in assigning blame for the attacks on its troops.

Why this matters: The resumption of attacks by Iran-backed militias against U.S. forces threatens to further destabilize the region and escalate tensions between the U.S., Iran, and Israel. It also complicates the position of the Iraqi government, which is under pressure from the militias to expel U.S. troops.

The attack prompted condemnation from the U.S. and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, who called it an act of terrorism. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. reserved the right to respond to the targeting of U.S. personnel by Kataib Hezbollah and another group, Haraket Hezbollah Al Nujaba.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights accused the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, of staging the attack. The group claimed responsibility, stating it was "in solidarity with Palestinians and out of anger at U.S. support for Israel in the Gaza war." The incident follows a near three-month pause in targeting of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed Shiite Muslim armed factions.

Key Takeaways

  • Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah attacked U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq.
  • The attack was part of a broader effort by Iran-backed militias to expel U.S. forces.
  • The attack prompted condemnation from the U.S. and Iraqi Prime Minister.
  • The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility, citing solidarity with Palestinians.
  • The incident follows a near three-month pause in targeting of U.S. forces in the region.