U.S. bases in Iraq targeted with missiles as Arab world simmers

 October 20, 2023

Iranian-backed militias launched rockets at U.S. bases in Iraq on Wednesday, as the Middle East simmered with tension over Israel's war with Hamas and the bombing of a hospital in Gaza.

The Pentagon said that two out of three drones were destroyed, with minor injuries to those targeted.

“In this moment of heightened alert, we are vigilantly monitoring the situation in Iraq and the region. U.S. forces will defend U.S. and coalition forces against any threat,” Central Command said in the release.

American bases targeted

The attacks came as anti-American sentiment has swept the Middle East over U.S. support for Israel, which suffered a brutal terrorist attack days ago at the hands of Hamas. Israel has responded with a heavy bombardment of Gaza.

Tensions in the region have led to fears of a broader conflict in the Arab world, where animosity to the United States and Israel is at a fever pitch.

A U.S. Navy ship in the Red Sea intercepted missiles fired from Yemen toward Israel on Thursday. 

The Iranian-backed militias behind Wednesday's attacks on U.S. bases pledged further attacks on the "American occupation.”

“Our missiles, drones, and special forces are ready to direct qualitative strikes at the American enemy in its bases and disrupt its interests if it intervenes in this battle,” Ahmad “Abu Hussein” al-Hamidawi, head of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, said.

Another Iran-backed militant group, Lebanon-based Hezbollah, has threatened to widen the conflict with Israel - declaring a "day of rage" in response to the deaths of hundreds at a hospital in Gaza.

Tensions rising

Israel has blamed the bombing on Islamist militants, and the Pentagon has backed up Israel, saying there is no evidence the Jewish state was responsible.

That assertion was echoed by Biden Wednesday as he visited Israel in a show of support for the embattled nation. 

"I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at a hospital in Gaza yesterday" Biden told prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"And based on what I've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team not you. But there's a lot of people out there who are not sure."

Meanwhile, fears are rising of terrorism in Western countries impacted by immigration from the Arab world, especially after Islamist attacks in France and Belgium in recent days.

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