Pro-Iranian armed groups announced they will stop attacking US troops
Members of Iraqi militia groups, including Kataib Hezbollah, in Baghdad in December 2023. Photo: AFP

The Kataib Hezbollah forces in Iraq announced a “temporary suspension of all military activities” against the US after the raid that killed three US soldiers in Jordan.

“We suspend all military and security operations against the occupying forces to save face for the Iraqi government,” Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi, secretary general of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, announced on January 30. “We will continue to protect the people of Gaza through other means.”

This armed group often uses the phrase “occupying force” to refer to US units stationed in Iraq and surrounding areas.

The Pentagon refused to comment on Kataib Hezbollah’s latest statement but emphasized that the US stance against hostile forces in the region will be based on their actions instead of empty words.

Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi admitted that there are dissents within the alliance of armed forces against the West and Israel in the Middle East. He said some allies of the Resistance Axis led by Iran “generally oppose pressing or escalating conflicts with US forces in Iraq and Syria.”

The statement was issued after the attack on Tower 22, a small US outpost in Jordan near the Syrian border, on January 28, which killed three soldiers. Pentagon Repository Sabrina Singh commented that the raid had “traces of the Kataib Hezbollah group.”

US officials vow to respond fiercely and deploy all necessary measures to protect US soldiers.

Iran denies any connection to the attacks on US military facilities in Iraq by Islamic militia groups, asserting that they operate independently. The Kataib Hezbollah group’s statement also did not mention the attack on Tower 22 that killed US soldiers.

Farhad Alaadin, foreign affairs advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Shia Al-Sudani, said the government in Baghdad has been trying to negotiate in recent days to prevent tensions from escalating because of the incident on the Jordan-Syria border.

“The Prime Minister is working with all relevant parties, inside and outside Iraq’s borders. All forces need to support the Prime Minister’s efforts and prevent tensions from escalating,” Mr. Alaadin said.

Kataib Hezbollah was established after the US-Iraq war in 2003. The US State Department considered Kataib Hezbollah a “terrorist organization” since 2009.

The group is considered the most potential pro-Iranian militia in the Islamic Resistance coalition in Iraq. Groups belonging to this alliance have claimed responsibility for more than 150 attacks targeting US military facilities and units in Iraq and Syria over the past three months, since fighting broke out in the Gaza Strip.