US forces have carried out airstrikes against five Kata’ib Hizbollah (KH) sites in Iraq and Syria following a Friday rocket attack on the K1 base in Iraq that killed a US contractor and injured several service members.
The precision defensive strikes were carried out on Sunday evening on five KH facilities with the aim of degrading KH’s ability to conduct future attacks against operation Inherent Resolve coalition forces.
According to a Pentagon statement, these locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks.
The strike by Iranian proxy KH on Friday included a 30-plus rocket attack on the Iraqi base near Kirkuk that resulted in the death of a US citizen and injured four US service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
KH has a strong linkage with Iran’s Quds Force and has repeatedly received lethal aid and other support from Iran that it has used to attack OIR coalition forces.
“Iran and their KH proxy forces must cease their attacks on US and coalition forces, and respect Iraq’s sovereignty, to prevent additional defensive actions by US forces,” assistant to the secretary of defense Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
The airstrikes are reported to be the first US attack against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and come after months of riots in Iraq, during which the Iranian-backed militias reportedly killed over 500 protesters.