Iran, Iraq Warn Of Consequences Over US Air Strike

Iran and Iraq have warned that the United States will have to face consequences over their air strikes targeting Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. U.S. forces conducted precision defensive strikes against five facilities of Kataib Hizbollah (KH) in Iraq and Syria, which according to the Department of Defense will degrade the Iran-backed Iraqi militia's ability to conduct future attacks against the U.S.-led coalition forces. The air strikes were in retaliation to last week's rocket attacks by KH on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk that killed a U.S. civilian contractor and injured four U.S. troops and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces. While Pentagon did not mention if the aerial attacks resulted in casualties, KH said its 25 fighters were killed and 51 others injured. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mosavi said the US Government must accept "responsibility of the consequences of the illegal attacks." Washington has "openly shown its support to terrorism and shown its negligence to the independence and national sovereignty of countries," Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted him as saying in a statement. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said that by carrying out the air strikes, the United States violated Iraq's sovereignty, which will force Iraq to review its relations with its security partner. "The prime minister described the American attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences," a statement issued by his office said. Iraq's foreign ministry has decided to summon the US ambassador in Baghdad over the attack. "We also stress that Iraq is an independent country, that its internal security is a priority... and it will not be allowed to be a battlefield, a passage to carry out attacks, or a place [to be used] to harm neighboring countries," it said on Twitter. Reports say Washington had informed Baghdad of its planned air strikes, but Mehdi was against it. Kataib Hezbollah, which means Brigades of the Party of God, is a powerful Iraqi Shia militia that Washington designated as a terrorist outfit. Its leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was blacklisted as a global terrorist. KH has strong ties with Iran's Quds Force and has repeatedly received lethal aid and other support from Iran that it has used to attack the coalition forces.