US General Says Iran-Backed Group 'Most Likely' Behind Deadly Attack on American Troops


The Pentagon has announced it is prepared to respond and has briefed President Donald Trump after two U.S. troops in Iraq were killed in a rocket attack that officials believe was perpetrated by an Iran-backed militant group.

“Yesterday, hostile forces, most likely Shia militia groups, launched more than a dozen rockets at U.S. and coalition forces at Camp Taji in Iraq, killing two U.S. and one British service member, as well as wounding several more,” Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, according to The Hill.

“While we are still investigating the attack, I will note that the Iranian proxy group Kataib Hezbollah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against coalition forces in Iraq,” the general added.

McKenzie said that 10,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to the region since May.

But he indicated the increased military presence has not fully deterred Iran-backed attacks, according to Fox News.

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“Let me be clear: The U.S. will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters Thursday, Politico reported.

“I have spoken with the president. He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance. And, you know – if that becomes the case,” Esper said, as Reuters reported.

Esper did not elaborate on the possibility of a military response, but said he was “not going to take any option off the table right now.”

He said the Pentagon is working with coalition partners to “bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence.”

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Politico also reported that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the attack was perpetrated by “Shia militia groups.”

He added: “We have pretty good confidence we know who did this.”

Three people were killed, including the two U.S. service members, when a barrage of rockets struck the base.

At least 10 others were injured, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

Army Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for U.S. forces in the region, wrote on Twitter that Iraq’s Camp Taji base was hit by “more than 15 small rockets.”

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The base, which is just 17 miles north of Baghdad, has been used by the U.S. military for training purposes for a number of years, the AP reported.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the attack Wednesday, noting that the action “will not be tolerated.”

In Janury, Iranian forces launched a series of missiles at U.S. troops housed at the Ain Assad air base in Iraq in response to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad days earlier.

The attack on Soleimani was ordered by President Trump.

Wednesday would have been Gen. Soleimani’s 63rd birthday, according to Fox.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.