Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah suspends operations against U.S.

Following a drone strike in Jordan that claimed the lives of three US troops, an Iraqi militant group suspected of involvement, Kataib Hezbollah, has declared a suspension of operations against the United States.

An Iraqi militant group suspected of carrying out a drone strike in Jordan that resulted in the deaths of three US troops has announced a suspension of its operations against the US. Kataib Hezbollah, the Iran-aligned group claiming responsibility for the attack, stated that the suspension aims to prevent embarrassment for the Iraqi government.

President Joe Biden has acknowledged deciding on a response but has not disclosed details. The US has hinted at a potential armed response delivered in multiple phases.

Kataib Hezbollah Secretary-General Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi explained in a statement on Tuesday, “As we announce the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces – in order to prevent embarrassment of the Iraqi government – we will continue to defend our people in Gaza in other ways.”

The drone attack along the Jordan-Syrian border, which resulted in the deaths of three US troops and injuries to dozens more, utilized a drone reportedly made in Iran, according to CBS News.

While the US has attributed the attack to Iranian-backed groups, it has not definitively identified Kataib Hezbollah as the responsible party. The Pentagon acknowledged the attack bore “the footprints” of the militant group and emphasized that there would be consequences.

Efforts are underway to enhance security at the targeted location, Tower 22, where around 350 US troops are stationed for a mission focused on combating the Islamic State group. Additional air defenses, including a system designed to intercept drones, are being deployed to the base.

US officials, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, have pointed to Iran as a responsible party in these attacks. Turner emphasized the need for a robust response to make it clear that the conflict could extend to Iran.

President Biden is currently considering various retaliatory options, including potential strikes on Iran-affiliated militia bases and commanders. The possibility of targeting senior commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps in Iraq or Syria is also being explored. The highest possible escalation would involve attacks inside Iran’s borders.

The recent drone strike marked the first time since the beginning of the Gaza war, triggered by Hamas’s attack on Israel in October, that US troops were killed in the region. Attacks on US bases by militias supported by Iran have escalated in recent months, with the latest incident prompting a reevaluation of the US response.

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