The Iraqi government on Monday expressed rejection of US airstrikes on the Hashd al-Shaabi militia on the Iraq-Syria border, saying the attacks violated Iraq’s sovereignty.

This came in a written statement by Yahya Rasul, the military spokesperson of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

“We condemn and reject the US attacks on the Iraq-Syria border last night. This is a blatant, unacceptable violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and national security under all international agreements,” he said.

Earlier Monday, the Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a faction of the Hashd al-Shaabi, said that four members of the force were killed as a result of the US airstrikes. The faction threatened to go to “an open war with the American occupation.”

An Iraqi military source told Anadolu Agency that US airstrikes targeted sites where Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada’s fighters were deployed on the Iraqi-Syrian border.

The source, who preferred not to be named as he was not authorized to speak with the media, said “the strikes caused the death of four members and the injury of three others.”

Earlier on Monday, the US announced in a statement by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby that it launched targeted airstrikes “against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region.”

Kirby said: “As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect US personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks.”

Military sites housing US forces as well as the US Embassy in Baghdad have recently come under rocket attacks, which Washington blames for Shia armed factions linked to Iran.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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