The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has hit out at Iran after briefing Donald Trump about US strikes against a militia group in Iraq and Syria in which 25 fighters were reportedly killed.
The Pentagon said the attacks were “defensive strikes” against the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia group, which US officials said was backed by Iran, two days after a US civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.
“We will not stand for the Islamic Republic of Iran to take actions that put American men and women in jeopardy,” Pompeo told reporters after the briefing, which took place at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Mark Esper, the defence secretary who also attended the briefing, said the strikes had been successful and that officials discussed other options with Trump.
Iraqi security and militia sources said at least 25 militia fighters had been killed and at least 55 wounded following three US airstrikes in Iraq on Sunday. At least four local commanders from the Iranian-backed Shia Muslim group were among the dead, the sources said, adding that one of the strikes had targeted the militia group’s headquarters near the western al-Qa’im district on the border with Syria.
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