US says Iraq has right to defend itself, following Israeli attacks

The U.S. Department of Defense said Iraq has the right to “protect their democracy” following recent attacks reportedly carried out by Israel.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

On Monday, the Pentagon issued a statement that Iraq “has the right to control their own internal security and protect their democracy” following recent attacks reportedly conducted by Israel on its territory.

The Pentagon’s statement comes after The New York Times reported on August 22 that Pentagon officials had confirmed that Israel was behind the attack on Iraq that took place on July 19 on a munitions base north of Baghdad.

“We support Iraqi sovereignty and have repeatedly spoken out against any potential actions by external actors inciting violence in Iraq,” Department of Defense Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan R. Hoffman said in a statement released on the Pentagon’s website.

“The government of Iraq has the right to control their own internal security and protect their democracy. They are conducting an investigation into the recent attacks accordingly,” the statement said.

Israel has been blamed for a series of airstrikes on Iraqi territory. The most recent was on Sunday when a drone strike reportedly hit a pro-Iranian militia affiliated with Hezbollah, killing one and destroying two vehicles carrying arms.

The militia blamed Israel for the drone strike.

On August 12, fingers pointed at Israel for an attack on a military base southwest of Baghdad belonging to the same militia, called the Popular Mobilization Forces. One civilian was killed and 13 were wounded in that attack, according to reports.

A political bloc within Iraqi’s parliament, the Fatah Coalition, is calling for the U.S. to withdraw in the wake of the attacks, The Times of Israel reports on Tuesday. It says it holds the U.S. responsible for the Israeli strikes, “which we consider to be a declaration of war on Iraq and its people.”

Iraqi calls for America’s withdrawal may have in part prompted the Pentagon statement on Monday.

It stated: “U.S. forces did not conduct the recent attack on a convoy or any recent attacks that resulted in the explosion of ammunition storage facilities in Iraq. Statements to the contrary are false, misleading, and inflammatory.”

“We support Iraqi sovereignty and have repeatedly spoken out against any potential actions by external actors inciting violence in Iraq.

“As guests of Iraq, U.S. forces operate at the invitation of the Iraqi government and comply with all laws and directions. Furthermore, we are fully cooperating with the investigation.”