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Iran-Linked Militia Halts Military Operations in Iraq under Pressure from Iran & Iraq | – Times of India

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In a surprise move, an Iran-linked militia in Iraq that the Pentagon said was likely responsible for a lethal drone attack on a US base in Jordan over the weekend announced on Tuesday that it was suspending military operations in Iraq under pressure from the Iraqi government and from Iran. The announcement came shortly after President Biden said that he had decided how to respond to the attack in Jordan on Sunday, though he did not say what that response would be.His comment raised fears in Iraq about a possibly retaliatory US attack on its territory.
The militia, Kata’ib Hezbollah, or Brigades of the Party of God, is the largest and most established of the Iran-linked groups operating in Iraq. It has spearheaded a majority of the some 160 attacks on US military installations in Iraq and Syria that have occurred since Israel began its ground operations in Gaza.
The US military has about 2,500 troops in Iraq training the Iraqi army and about 900 in Syria, supporting the Kurdish Syrian Defense forces in their fight against the Islamic State.
Kata’ib Hezbollah is part of what is known as the Axis of Resistance, a network of Iran-backed groups operating in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and occasionally farther afield. The other two Iraqi groups that are believed to have been involved in strikes US targets – Harakat al Nujaba and Sayyid Shuhada – have not announced they will halt attacks.
The leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi, said in a statement: “We announce the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces – in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.” It was the first time that the militia had publicly declared a suspension of operations. The statement made clear that Iran had pressured the group to stop the attacks on US troops. The group made a point of suggesting that it chooses its own targets and timing, rather than following Iran’s orders. “Our brothers in the Axis, especially in the Islamic Republic of Iran, they do not know how we conduct our Jihad, and they often object to the escalation against the occupation forces in Iraq and Syria,” the statement said.
Asked about Kata’ib Hezbollah’s announcement, a US defence department spokesman, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, said at a Pentagon briefing: “I don’t have a specific comment to provide other than actions speak louder than words.”

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