Iran-backed armed teams have focused US troops in Iraq hours after Tehran vowed revenge and blamed Israel for a deadly attack on a constructing housing its elite forces within the Syrian capital Damascus, driving fears of vast regional battle.
The assault brought on one Iraqi and potential American casualties, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) mentioned on Saturday, and got here hours after Tehran vowed to take revenge in opposition to Israel for its strike concentrating on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Syria.
“A number of ballistic missiles and rockets have been launched by Iranian-backed militants in western Iraq concentrating on al-Assad Airbase,” CENTCOM mentioned on X.
Many of the projectiles have been intercepted by the bottom’s air defence programs, however “others impacted on the bottom”, the assertion mentioned.
Iranian-backed Militants Assault Al-Assad Airbase, Iraq
At roughly 6:30 p.m. (Baghdad time) time Jan. 20, a number of ballistic missiles and rockets have been launched by Iranian-backed militants in Western Iraq concentrating on al-Assad Airbase. Many of the missiles have been intercepted by… pic.twitter.com/rYaNrRdRtu
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 20, 2024
Assaults on US forces in Iraq and Syria have elevated for the reason that October 7 Israeli army offensive, which has been militarily backed by Washington. Since launching its offensive on the Gaza Strip, Israel has expanded its assaults concentrating on Iran-linked armed teams in Syria and Lebanon.
Yemen’s Houthis, who kind a part of Tehran-backed teams generally known as the “axis of resistance”, have launched assaults in the direction of Israel and focused Israel-linked ships within the Purple Sea in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza disrupting one of many busiest maritime routes. Houthis demand Israel finish its conflict on Gaza and permit humanitarian help into the besieged territory in determined want of meals, medicines and different important objects.
Jordan’s International Minister Ayman Safadi has warned of the hazards of escalation in Israel’s conflict on Gaza.
“If Israel continues to ramp up its assaults on different fronts and if it drags the West in, we’ll be a really, very critical escalation of the battle,” he informed Al Jazeera.
Missiles elsewhere danger wider conflict
The stepped-up Israeli and US assaults concentrating on Iran-linked teams have the potential to set off a regional battle, pitting Iran and its allies in opposition to Israel and the US.
An Israeli drone strike in south Lebanon reportedly killed a member of Hezbollah, who was travelling in a automobile, in accordance with two safety sources. One other unidentified particular person travelling in the identical automobile was additionally killed.
In the meantime, the US mentioned it had focused a missile that the Houthis have been aiming into the Purple Sea. The US army has within the final week launched a number of strikes on the Houthis.
In response to Hassan Ahmadian, a professor on the College of Tehran, Israel is widening the battle resulting from its lack of ability to realize its army objectives in Gaza.
“Israelis have upped the ante of what they have been doing beforehand,” Ahmadian informed Al Jazeera, including that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been vocal about requires an escalation.
Israel can also be ramping up its assaults to stave off assaults by Iran and allies within the area, nevertheless many of those teams are a part of the “axis of resistance” and are doing so in their very own nationwide pursuits, he mentioned.
Israeli strike targets Iran in Syria
On Saturday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi mentioned his nation would retaliate in opposition to the attack in Damascus which killed 5 members of the IRGC. Tehran blamed Israel for the newest assault concentrating on its forces in Syria – a detailed ally of Iran.
“The Islamic Republic won’t depart the Zionist regime’s crimes unanswered,” Raisi mentioned, in accordance with state broadcaster IRIB.
There was no remark from Israel, but it surely has killed IRGC members in a number of related strikes since October 7.
They have been focused in a constructing in Damascus which was flattened by “precision-targeted Israeli missiles”, in accordance with a safety supply near Syria’s authorities.
Portraits of the IRGC members on Iranian state media referred to 3 of them with an honorific used for generals, suggesting they have been senior commanders, whereas the 2 others have been a serious and somebody holding a decrease rank.
An unspecified variety of Syrian troops have been additionally killed.
International Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian mentioned on the X: “The actions of Iran’s army advisers within the combat in opposition to terrorism and securing the area will proceed with full energy.”
Iran and its army allies in Syria have entrenched themselves in a number of components of the nation.
In December, an Israeli air strike killed two IRGC members, and one other on December 25 killed a senior adviser to the IRGC.