09:27 GMT +321 January 2020
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    US airstrikes on five Iraqi and Syrian facilities used by the Baghdad-allied Kata’ib Hezbollah Shia militia killed at least 25 militia members and injured 51 others.

    US Central Command has released a pair of videos shot from aboard the F-15E warplanes used to bomb Kata’ib Hezbollah units in Iraq, with footage showing the destruction in the aftermath of precision strikes on a military facility in western Iraq.

    The second of the declassified videos shows the militia base as it is engulfed in flames, and plumes of thick black smoke consume the area.

    US forces carried out airstrikes on three Kata’ib Hezbollah facilities in Iraq and two others in Syria, with the militia group confirming that over two dozen of its members had been killed. Unconfirmed amateur footage filmed at the scene of one of the strikes showed people on the ground digging through the rubble looking for survivors and putting people into ambulances as fires raged around them.

    US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper called the attacks “successful,” with Washington saying the attacks were a ‘response’ to Friday’s rocket attack on a US military facility outside of Kirkuk, northern Iraq which killed one US civilian contractor and injured several US troops.

    Kata’ib Hezbollah, a Shia militia group that’s part of the Baghdad government-allied Popular Mobilization Forces, has not claimed responsibility for the Kirkuk attack. The group was known to have engaged in guerilla warfare against US forces in Iraq after the US invasion in the 2000s, and to have taken part in the 2014-2017 operation to liberate western Iraq of Daesh (ISIS)* terrorists.

    The Iraqi government has slammed the US airstrikes, saying they were inconsistent with Iraqi-US security agreements and a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. Israel voiced its approval of the strikes, while Iran condemned them as evidence of “US terrorism.”

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


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