The US Department of Defense (Pentagon) said on Monday that the deaths were likely caused by US strikes on Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria last Friday, but added that it was still assessing the situation.
Pentagon spokesman General Patrick Ryder told reporters that there had been two attacks on US forces in Syria since last Friday, but there were no casualties among US forces.
He pointed out that the United States' military response to the attack on its forces in northeastern Jordan is not yet complete, and his country “knows this”. ''Iran provides funding, equipment and training to groups that attack our forces.'' He stressed that he had no knowledge of any Iranians being killed in the attacks.
Regarding the attacks in Yemen, Ryder indicated that they targeted 36 Houthi sites, including weapons depots and air defense systems. “The strikes are aimed at weakening the Houthis' ability to attack ships and disrupt navigation in the Red Sea,” he said.
“If the Houthis continue their attacks on ships in the Red Sea, we will continue to attack their targets to weaken their capabilities,” he vowed.
Contradictions between the State Department and the Pentagon
In a related context, the US State Department said yesterday, Monday, that the United States did not inform the Iraqi government in advance about recent attacks against targets in Iraq said to be loyal to Iran , clarifying White House statements to the contrary.
“With respect to Friday's response, we notified the Iraqi government immediately after the attack,” US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said in a statement to reporters.
But he said that “like all countries in the region, the Iraqi government was well aware that there would be a reaction to the killing of American soldiers.”
On Friday, the United States launched strikes in Syria and Iraq on targets of Iranian elite forces and armed groups that it had confirmed were loyal to Iran, in response to the January 28 attack in which Syrian-Iraqi Three American soldiers were killed in nearby Jordan. Limit.
Iraq and Syria condemned the attacks and Baghdad considered them a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty” and submitted a “memorandum of protest” to the US chargé d'affaires in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council at the White House, said in a statement to reporters on Friday evening that Washington had informed Iraqi officials “well in advance” of the attacks, which angered Baghdad.
On Monday, Kirby said, “I responded according to the information available to me at the time.”
While Kirby acknowledged that the statement was not as accurate as expected, he expressed regret for “any confusion that may have arisen as a result”.
Kirby continued, “We made no secret from Iraqi officials and others that we would respond to attacks targeting our forces. In fact, we officially informed Iraq, in accordance with proper procedural requirements “
It seems that Washington was eager to issue this clarification and confirm that it had not informed Baghdad in advance about any military operation, given the current state of relations between the United States and Iraq. I have extreme sensitivity.
The United States has deployed about 2,500 American troops to Iraq as part of the coalition established in 2014 to combat ISIS.
In the context of regional tensions heightened by the Israel-initiated war on the Gaza Strip, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani began talks with Washington regarding the fate of the coalition to determine a timetable for a gradual withdrawal.
There have been more than 165 attacks on US forces and international coalition forces in Iraq and Syria since mid-October.
These attacks, many of which were claimed by the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq”, a coalition of Iranian-backed armed groups that oppose US support for Israel in the war in Gaza and the presence of US forces in the region, since October. Have become faster. 7.