Iraq says 16 people, including civilians, killed in ‘new US aggression’

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The Iraqi government condemned the U.S. airstrikes in the west of the country as a “new aggression against Iraq’s sovereignty” and said they killed at least 16 people, including civilians, and wounded 25 others.

The strikes, which took place late Friday night, hit locations in the Akashat and Al-Qaim regions, near the border with Syria where militia groups have a strong presence. The U.S. said the strikes were in response to the killing of three American soldiers by a rocket attack on a base in Erbil last week, which was claimed by a group called Saraya Awliya al-Dam.

The Iraqi government spokesman, Bassem al-Awadi, said in a statement that the strikes were not coordinated with the Baghdad authorities and that they violated Iraq’s sovereignty and international law. He also said that the strikes caused “losses and damage to residential buildings and citizens’ property” and that some of the victims were members of the Iraqi security forces.

Awadi accused the United States of “deception and distortion of facts” and called the suggestion “an unfounded claim crafted to mislead international public opinion and evade legal responsibility” for what he said was a breach of international law.

The strikes also drew criticism from Syria, which said they killed civilians and soldiers on its territory and warned of “dangerous consequences”. The Syrian defense ministry said the strikes targeted a border crossing used for trade and humanitarian aid, as well as a Syrian army checkpoint.

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