An air strike Sunday killed at least five pro-Iranian militants in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province, two Iraqi security sources told AFP.
The raid targeted a site used by an armed group affiliated with Hashed al-Shaabi, a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into the Iraqi regular military, a senior security official in Kirkuk said without saying who had launched the attack.
The airstrike came a day after Iraq’s prime minister warned Washington against any “attack” on Iraqi territory, after a resumption of fighting in the Israel-Hamas war renewed concerns of a wider conflict.
War erupted in the Gaza Strip after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing over 240 hostages.
On November 22, US fighter jets struck two targets in Iraq, killing nine pro-Iran fighters in retaliation for repeated attacks on American troops, US and Iraqi sources said.
Hours earlier, a warplane struck the vehicle of Iran-backed fighters after they had fired a short-range ballistic missile at US and allied personnel, according to the Pentagon.
The strikes came after US forces deployed in Iraq and Syria were attacked at least 74 times, according to Pentagon officials, a surge linked to the war between Israel and Hamas.
Most strikes targeting American troops in Iraq were claimed by “the Islamic resistance in Iraq,” a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Hashed.
On November 25, the head of the Hezbollah Brigades said in a statement that the group would “reduce the intensity of operations” against American troops in the Middle East “until the end of the truce” between Israel and Hamas. The truce ended Friday.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that there had been no attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria since the truce began.
Washington has also targeted Iran-backed groups in Syria after attacks on its forces there.
There are roughly 2,500 US troops in Iraq and around 900 in Syria as part of efforts to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group.
The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.