US Strikes Iran-backed Shi’ite Group in Iraq, Syria
The United States has bombed five military sites belonging to the Iranian-backed Kata’ib Hizbullah, which Washington has accused of targeting American troops in Iraq. The multi-pronged US attack was an apparent response to Friday’s coordinated rocket strikes on the K1 military base in Kirkuk, Iraq, which killed a US defense contractor and wounded American and Iraqi soldiers. Up to 30 rockets were fired at the compound, the latest in a series of similar attacks across the country which the US has blamed on Tehran-supported Shi’ite forces. The US move comes after President Donald Trump did not respond militarily to September’s Iran-attributed drone and missile attack against critical Saudi oil infrastructure. That, in turn, followed his last-minute decision earlier in the summer to call off retaliatory strikes against Iranian assets after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had shot down a US drone. Following both instances, the US’s regional Sunni allies began quietly expressing doubt that Washington would intervene on their behalf in the event a war broke out against Iran in the Middle East.