Iraq summons US charge d'affaires over air strikes

Iraq has summoned the US charge d'affaires in Baghdad to deliver a formal memorandum of protest over US airstrikes in Iraq. (Photo/Reuters)

Iraq has summoned the US charge d'affaires in Baghdad to deliver a formal memorandum of protest over US airstrikes in Iraq, the state news agency INA reported.

"In protest at the US aggression which targeted Iraqi civilian and military sites, the foreign ministry is going to summon US charge d'affaires David Burger," a ministry statement said on Saturday.

US strikes in the west of Iraq against armed pro-Iran groups killed at least 16 people, including civilians, and wounded 23, Iraqi government spokesman Bassem al Awadi said.

The strikes hit "locations in the Akashat and Al Qaim regions, including areas where our security forces are stationed", Awadi said in a statement.

Iran also condemned US air strikes on Saturday as a "strategic mistake" by its arch-foe, without saying whether or not any of them caused any Iranian casualties.

"Last night's attack on Syria and Iraq is an adventurous action and another strategic mistake by the US government, which will have no result other than intensifying tensions and instability in the region," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a statement.

"The US military attacks on Iraq, Syria and Yemen merely provide for the goals of the Zionist regime," he said, referring to US ally Israel.

The American strikes were "a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, of international law and a flagrant violation of the United Nations charter", Kanani added.

'Battleground for settling scores'

On Friday, a White House spokesperson said the United States had "warned the Iraqi government before the strikes". But Baghdad denied there had been any coordination with Washington prior to the bombings.

The US carried out the strikes on Friday in retaliation for the killing of three US military personnel in a drone attack on a base close to Jordan's border with Syria and Iraq.

Washington blamed the unclaimed attack on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of pro-Iran militants opposed to US support for Israel in Gaza. Tehran has denied any links to the attack.

Awadi accused the United States of "deception and distortion of facts" and called the suggestion "an unfounded claim crafted to mislead international public opinion and evade legal responsibility" for what he said was a breach of international law.

"This aggressive air strike will push the security situation in Iraq and the region to the brink of the abyss," the spokesman said.

Awadi condemned the use of Iraq's territory as a "battleground for settling scores" and repeated his government's call for the withdrawal of the US-led international coalition in Iraq.

The coalition had "deviated from its assigned tasks and granted mandate," he said, and was "endangering security and stability in Iraq".

There are roughly 2,500 US troops deployed in Iraq and about 900 in Syria as part of the coalition formed in 2014 to fight the Daesh terror group — the year the group overran around a third of Iraq.


Source: TRT