US shoots down drone in Iraq amid West Asia tensions
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq said it carried out the drone attack. The interception comes as tensions flare between the US and pro-Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq
US forces have shot down a drone in Iraq, close to where American forces are stationed in the west of the country, White House official John Kirby confirmed on Friday, 27 October.
What do we know so far?
The attempted drone attack followed US strikes on two military facilities in eastern Syria, used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups, which the US claims are behind a spike in attacks targeting American forces in the region.
"US forces engaged a one-way attack drone a few kilometers from Al-Assad Air Base, Iraq, and successfully shot it down without further incident," a US defense official anonymously told the news agency AFP.
Pro-Iranian militias have claimed more than a dozen attacks on US-manned bases in Iraq and adjacent Syria since the Israel-Hamas war flared up earlier this month.
A group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq — which has claimed many of the recent attacks on US and allied forces in Iraq and Syria — said it carried out the attack.
The US official also said there was a "multi-rocket attack" in Syria on Thursday against American and other forces from the international coalition against the "so called” Islamic State (IS) jihadi group.
"There were no casualties or damage to infrastructure," the official said of that attack.
Key Iraqi cleric calls for US embassy closure
The attack comes as the Iraqi government faces a call from influential religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr to close the US embassy in Baghdad due to what he described as the "unlimited American” support for Israel in its war with Hamas.
"I request the Iraqi government and Iraqi parliament of all its categories and leanings and for the first time and for public, not private, interests to vote on the closure of the US embassy," al-Sadr said in an Arabic post on X, formerly Twitter.
"This would be along with the commitment to protect its diplomatic personnel," the 49-year-old added.
There are roughly 2,500 American troops in Iraq and about 900 in Syria as part of a sustained effort to prevent a resurgence of IS, which once held significant territory in both countries but has been pushed back by international airstrikes and a years long bloody conflict.
Published: 28 Oct 2023, 1:48 PM