Several Iraqi soldiers have been killed in airstrikes on army positions in Jurf al-Sakhar in Babil province.
According to local sources, at least four explosions were heard in the Jurf al-Sakhar region on Monday evening.
The attacks were apparently carried out by F-16 fighter jets and drones. So far, 9 Iraqi soldiers have been killed, sources close to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (al-Hashd al-Sha’abi) said.
Lebanese Al Mayadeen television reported that American fighter jets flew over the al-Qaem area near the Iraqi-Syrian border after the attacks.
Although several Popular Mobilization Units-particularly Kata’ib Hezbollah forces-were earlier deployed in the region, some Iraqi sources said the airstrikes targeted the Arab country’s army forces.
Despite speculation about the U.S. role in the airstrikes, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News that “there have been no U.S. airstrikes near Baghdad tonight.”
A senior US defense official tells me there are no US airstrikes near Baghdad tonight, despite various tweets from the region.
– Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 19, 2021
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted several tweets about the 2019 attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad when the airstrikes hit Jurf al-Sakhar.
“When violent protesters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve 2019, State Department special agents defended the compound for more than 40 hours without loss of life or serious injury,” he said in one of his tweets.
When violent protestors attacked @USEmbBaghdad on New Year’s Eve 2019, @StateDeptDSS special agents defended the compound against the mob for more than 40 hours, with no loss of life or serious injuries. #UnsungHeroes pic.twitter.com/8G8EiWXouM
– Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 18, 2021
The Sabereen News website, which is close to al-Hashd al-Sha’abi, reported that the Iraqi prime minister ordered the deployment of Iraqi troops near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to protect the compound from possible retaliation.
On Dec. 20, a series of Katyusha missiles landed near the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad. The attack, which was the largest in Baghdad’s Green Zone since 2010, caused only minor damage to buildings there.
Anti-American sentiment has been high in Iraq since the U.S. assassination of Iranian counterterrorism commander Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad on Jan. 3, 2020. Just days later, the Iraqi parliament unanimously passed a law ordering the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq.
by Basit Abbasi – CCTV