21:51 GMT26 November 2020
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    According to Mark Esper, the recent attack in Iraq, which left at least three US and UK nationals dead, was "clearly" targeting coalition and partnered forces.

    Per US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, "all options were on the table" after a rocket attack in Iraq killed one British and two American troops - an attack that he claimed had occurred at the hands of Iranian-backed Shia militias.

    "Yesterday's attack by Iranian backed Shia militia groups, consisted of multiple indirect fires that originated from a stationary platform and was clearly targeting coalition and partnered forces on Camp Taji," Esper told journalists Thursday, adding the rocket attack was "clearly" aiming to harm coalition and partnered forces.

    The Pentagon chief stressed that President Trump had endowed the DoD with authority to potentially "do what we need to do."

    Speaking about the likelihood of a retaliatory operation, Esper acknowledged that hostile forces attacking the US wouldn't get away with it.

    "Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies," Esper said, stressing that "we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence."

    On Wednesday, 11 March, 18 Katyusha rockets landed on Camp Taji, several miles north of Baghdad, which houses coalition forces, leaving at least three troops - reportedly two US citizens and one UK national– dead, with "approximately" 12 others sustaining injuries.

    Independently, according to media reports, late on Wednesday, US military jets conducted a number of airstrikes on a base of the Iraqi Shia Popular Mobilisation Forces in the Iraqi province of Anbar, near the Syrian border with Syria.


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    rocket, coalition, Mark Esper, attack, Iraq
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