US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iraq’s Prime Minister that the United States will not tolerate attacks and threat to American lives. Pompeo held a discussion with Adil Abd al-Mahdi on the recent attacks on Camp Taji military base near Baghdad which claimed three lived of service members of US-led Coalition forces.
“Secretary Pompeo reiterated that the Government of Iraq must defend Coalition personnel supporting the Iraqi government’s efforts to defeat ISIS,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
“Pompeo underscored that the groups responsible for these attacks must be held accountable,” he added.
Military installations in Iraq housing US troops and diplomats have faced over 20 attacks and no group has claimed responsibility for it. The United States has blamed Iran-backed groups for the attacks and even launched an offensive in January which killed Iranian top military commander Qassem Soleimani.
Earlier, US officials had confirmed that three service members of the Coalition forces, including two Americans, were killed in the attack on Camp Taji and 14 others were left injured. The attack marked the latest in a series of rocket attacks conducted by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups against the US and coalition personnel.
In response, the US launched strikes targeting five weapon storage facilities aimed at significantly degrade their ability to conduct future attacks against Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces. The weapons storage facilities included those facilities that housed weapons used to target the US and coalition troops.
“These strikes were defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups (SMG) who continue to attack bases hosting OIR coalition forces,” said the Department.
The United States warned the militias to ceases their attacks on coalition forces for face consequences at a “time and place” of their choosing. The Department reiterated its commitment to the protection of coalition service members and preventing SMG attacks on coalition forces.