U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq killed five militia fighters in a drone strike as the militants were preparing to launch a suicide drone attack on a posting near Kirkuk on Sunday, the U.S. military confirmed.
The forces assigned to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), a U.S.-led coalition formed to combat the Islamic State, notified Iraqi Security Forces of the strike, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in the statement on Monday. Iraqi government troops confirmed all five militant targets were eliminated in the counterattack and the suicide drone was destroyed.
CENTCOM said the strikes were conducted in self defense.
“The United States will continue to defend U.S. and coalition personnel from attacks,” the statement said.
Also on Sunday, a U.S. Navy warship shot down three attack drones heading in its direction while responding to distress calls from three separate commercial ships transiting the southern Red Sea. CENTCOM said it was too early to determine whether the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen intended to directly target the warship, an Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer.
The Houthis launched ballistic missiles at three commercial vessels connected to 14 different countries, CENTCOM said.
U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have been attacked with suicide drones and missiles 76 times since Oct. 17, included two attacks since Wednesday, Politico reported, citing a DOD official. A coalition of groups that receive weapons, funding and training from Iran have claimed several attacks since the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel ended on Friday, according to a review of the group’s Telegram channel.
The U.S. in turn has launched three retaliatory attacks on facilities known to support Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and proxy activities, and on at least one separate occasion directly targeted and killed militants who had just launched a drone at U.S. and Coalition base in Iraq.
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