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IRGC Slams US Airstrikes in Iraq, Says People, PMF ‘Reserve the Right to Retaliate’ - Report

© REUTERS / ALAA AL-MARJANIIraqi people walk on a U.S. flag in a protest after an airstrike at the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah militia group in Qaim, in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq December 30, 2019.
Iraqi people walk on a U.S. flag in a protest after an airstrike at the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah militia group in Qaim, in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq December 30, 2019. - Sputnik International
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On Sunday, US forces conducted airstrikes targeting five facilities of the Kata'ib Hezbollah, a Shia militia claimed to be part of the Iraqi government-allied Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq and Syria, leaving at least 25 people dead and over 50 others injured.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in a statement on Monday that Iraq and the PMF have the right to respond to the recent airstrike carried out by US forces inside the territories of Iraq against the Kata'ib Hezbollah.

"The airstrikes by the American terrorists on Hashd al-Sha’abi bases […] constitute a violation of the national sovereignty of [Iraq] and once again show that the US is the main factor behind insecurity, chaos, tension and warmongering in this region," the IRGC said in a statement, according to Press TV.

“Naturally, the brave people and heroic Hashd al-Sha'bi forces of Iraq reserve the right to retaliate and give [proportionate] response to the recent big crime of Americans, according to international laws and conventions," according to the statement.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Monday condemned the US attack on the PMF, noting that the US targeting of a group that has participated in defeating Daesh* in the territories of Iraq is a “clear example of terrorism”.

"These attacks have once again proved America's false claims in fighting the Takfiri group of Daesh, as the United States has targeted the positions of forces that over the years have inflicted heavy blows to Daesh terrorists," Mousavi said.

PMF, an umbrella group of the Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq - including Kata'ib Hezbollah - confirmed on Sunday the death of 25 of its members and the injury of 51 others in the US airstrikes.

The Pentagon described the Sunday airstrikes as "retaliation" for the group's attack on a US base near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk that took place on Friday.

Baghdad criticized the US attack, saying that it violates Iraq’s sovereignty and US-Iraqi security agreements.

*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

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