Monday, February 26, 2024

Iraq says US attacks killed at least 16, including civilians

US airstrikes on Iraq on Friday killed at least 16 people, including civilians, and injured 25 others, according to a statement by the Iraqi government spokesperson.

The attacks in the Akashat area and the town of Al-Qaim, close to the border with Syria, including sites “where our security forces are stationed, alongside nearby civilian places”, the government statement said, calling it “aggression against Iraq’s sovereignty”.

Local authorities in Anbar province said the air raids targeted sites used by militias known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashad al Shaabi, including a PMU military base in the Akashat and houses used as weapon warehouses in Al-Qaim.

According to the mayor Rutba, Emad Al-Dulaimi, most killed and wounded in the Akashat area are PMU fighters.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated the US informed the Iraqi government of its plans before carrying out the strikes. But the Iraqi government has denied that claim, stressing the United States is “misleading international public opinion”.

The US side “intentionally engaged in deception and distortion of facts, stating coordination with Iraqi authorities for the perpetration of this aggression—an unfounded claim crafted to mislead international public opinion and evade legal responsibility for this condemned act, in violation of international laws,” the statement read.

The government statement added such attacks “will push the security situation in Iraq and the region to the brink of the abyss, jeopardizing ongoing efforts to establish the necessary stability”.

Iraq has also summoned the US Chargé d’Affaires in Baghdad in the wake the air strikes.

“In protest against the American aggression that targeted Iraqi military and civilian locations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will summon Mr. David Bircher, the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Baghdad,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It continued that this is “due to the absence of the American Ambassador, to deliver an official protest note regarding the American aggression that targeted military and civilian locations in the areas of Akashat and Al-Qaim on the evening of last Friday, February 2, 2024”.

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