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16 killed in ‘new U.S. aggression’ against Iraq’s sovereignty, Iraqi PM says

Sixteen people were killed, among them civilians, and 25 injured in overnight U.S. airstrikes on pro-Iran targets in Iraq, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's office said on Saturday.

Iraq summons U.S. chargé d'affaires in protest over airstrikes, state media says

Security forces inspect a damaged car at the site of a U.S. airstrike in al-Qaim, Iraq.

Sixteen people were killed and 25 injured, civilians among them, in overnight U.S. airstrikes on pro-Iran targets in Iraq, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani's office said on Saturday.

In a statement, it condemned the strikes as a "new aggression against Iraq's sovereignty."

The strikes are the first in a multi-tiered response by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration to the drone attack by Iran-backed militants that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan last Sunday, and more U.S. military operations are expected in the coming days.

The U.S. military launched an air assault Friday on dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias and Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Friday, in the opening salvo of retaliation for the attack in Jordan.

While the U.S. strikes have not targeted sites inside Iran, they signal a further escalation of the conflict in the Middle East from Israel's more than three-month-old war with Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza.

Hussein al-Mosawi, spokesperson for Harakat al-Nujaba, one of the main Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, said the targeted sites in Iraq were mainly "devoid of fighters and military personnel at the time of the attack."

WATCH | U.S. retaliates against militias in Iraq and Syria:

U.S. retaliates against militias in Iraq and Syria

1 day ago

Duration 1:52

The United States launched airstrikes against Iran-backed militia facilities in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for drone strikes that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan a week earlier.

In an interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad, Mosawi said Washington "must understand that every action elicits a reaction."

But he then struck a more conciliatory tone, saying that "we do not wish to escalate or widen regional tensions."

Syrian state media reported that there were casualties from the strikes but did not give a number. Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that 23 people were killed in the Syria strikes, all rank-and-file fighters.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups continue to represent a direct threat to the stability of Iraq, the region, and the safety of Americans. We will continue to take action, do whatever is necessary to protect our people, and… <a href="https://t.co/Y53nvRfjjx">pic.twitter.com/Y53nvRfjjx</a>

&mdash;@CENTCOM

The presence of the U.S.-led military coalition in the region "has become a reason for threatening security and stability in Iraq and a justification for involving Iraq in regional and international conflicts," the statement from Sudani's office said.

Side-by-side portraits of a woman, on the left in a white shirt and black hat, a man in a brown t-shirt in the centre and a woman wearing a green camouflage uniform and hat on the right.

'Domino effect' of Israel-Hamas war

The Iraqi foreign ministry on Saturday summoned the U.S. chargé d'affaires in Baghdad to deliver a formal memorandum of protest over the airstrikes, the state news agency INA reported.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned the conflict in Gaza is likely to spread throughout the region unless a ceasefire is reached between Israel and Hamas.

Borrell said the war has created a "domino effect," with conflict also erupting in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and in the Red Sea area.

Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, a staunch U.S. ally, said those targeted in the U.S. airstrikes had it coming. "Iran's proxies have played with fire for months and years and it's now burning them," he said.

WATCH | What this expert thinks the next steps will be:

'Tiered' U.S. response to fatal drone attack begins with airstrikes in Syria, Iraq

1 day ago

Duration 3:31

Mike Lyons, a fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, discusses Friday's U.S. airstrikes on sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iran-backed militias and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The strikes came after a drone attack killed three U.S. troops in Jordan last weekend.

With files from The Associated Press

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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