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Iraq warns Middle East is now on ‘brink of the abyss’ after 16 killed in US revenge strikes on Iranian-backed militias

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IRAQ has slammed US airstrikes following Friday’s attack – warning that the “aggressive strike” puts the region “on the brink of the abyss”.

America launched missiles against more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria on Friday, including Iranian-backed militias, killing 16 people.

The US blitzed Syria and Iraq with missiles on Friday

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The US blitzed Syria and Iraq with missiles on FridayCredit: Sky News
A US jet takes off for Friday's mission

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A US jet takes off for Friday’s mission

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The White House said Iraq was warned ahead of the blitz – which targeted militia “command and control headquarters” and ammo stores.

America also aimed at Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force and linked groups in the attack.

Previously leaked documents suggested the blitz was coming following the death of three American troops in Jordan.

But Iraq on Saturday said the US was “misleading public opinion” by claiming they had explicitly warned the country.

Iraqi officials said 16 people, including civilians, were killed and 25 others were wounded.

They said: “This aggressive strike will put security in Iraq and the region on the brink of the abyss, and it also contradicts efforts to establish the required stability.

“Iraq reiterates its refusal to let its lands be an arena for settling scores, and all parties must realize this. 

“Our country’s land and sovereignty are not the appropriate place to send messages and show force between opponents.

“The Iraqi government will make every effort required by moral, national, and constitutional responsibility to protect our land, our cities, and the lives of our children in all types of armed forces.” 

Syrian media also said cities in the east of the country were hit.

While Iran-linked targets were hit – Iran itself was not.

US Central Command said the strikes used more than 125 munitions, delivered by numerous aircraft, including long-range bombers.

US President Joe Biden tonight said on Friday: “Let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

Britain expressed support on Saturday and said the US had a “right to respond” to the attacks on American troops.

A Government spokesperson said: “The UK and US are steadfast allies.

“We wouldn’t comment on their operations, but we support their right to respond to attacks.

“We have long condemned Iran’s destabilising activity throughout the region, including its political, financial and military support to a number of militant groups.”

It came after Biden joined the grieving families of American Army reservists to see their remains returned home.

They were killed in an attack on the Tower 22 base, in Jordan, last Sunday.

They were Sgt William Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23.

More than 40 servicemen and women were also injured. The outpost was hit by an Iranian-made drone piloted from Iraq, just six miles away.

The Islamic Resistance, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias in the region, claimed responsibility.

It said it came in response to the US’ support for Israel.

Official sources earlier this week revealed plans for retaliatory strikes and said they would involve a blitz on Iranian people and facilities – which Friday’s attack on Iraq supposedly did.

The bombshell scheme was leaked as US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin decried the barrage of drone and rocket attacks recently carried out by Iran-backed militias on US forces in the Middle East.

He said on Thursday afternoon: “The president will not tolerate attacks on American troops and neither will I.

“Our teammates were killed by radical militants backed by Iran, operating in Syria and Iraq.”

Mr Austin added that Iran-backed rebels had “tried to create even more turmoil” ever since terror group Hamas unleashed its terror on Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostage.

He declared: “This is a dangerous moment in the Middle East.

“We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests, and our people.

“We will respond when we choose, where we choose, and how we choose. That’s what everyone here is focused on.”

Iran is a vital backer of Hamas and many other terrorist groups across the Middle East, including the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are behind recent attacks against ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Joe and Jill Biden watched on as the bodies of the three US troops killed in Jordan were carried by American soldiers

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Joe and Jill Biden watched on as the bodies of the three US troops killed in Jordan were carried by American soldiersCredit: Rex
The three US troops killed in Jordan: Sgt William Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23

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The three US troops killed in Jordan: Sgt William Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23Credit: Reuters

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