The United States has carried out attacks against the Shiite armed group Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said Sunday, killing at least 25 fighters since then.
Washington said it attacked the Iran-linked group in western Iraq and eastern Syria in response to the murder of an American civilian contractor two days earlier.
Iraqi security sources and militias said at least 55 fighters were injured in the airstrikes, adding that one of the raids had targeted the group's headquarters near the western al-Qaim district on the Syrian border.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased since Washington withdrew from a historic nuclear agreement with Tehran last year and began imposing crippling sanctions.
Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that the targets, three in Iraq and two in Syria, included weapons storage facilities and command locations used to plan and execute attacks.
The attack has further fueled tensions between Washington and Tehran, which are traditional rivals.
Commenting on development, another powerful pro-Iranian faction in Iraq, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, whose leaders were recently beaten with US sanctions, called for the United States to withdraw from the country, while Lebanon's powerful Shiite group, Hezbollah, He condemned the United States for attacking. groups that helped him defeat ISIL.
Here are some reactions from the main actors in the region:
Iraq warns of "dangerous,quot; consequences
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Monday condemned US airstrikes and said the attack would have "dangerous,quot; consequences.
"The prime minister described the US attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences," his office said in a statement.
The Iraqi National Security Council said that attacking Iraqi paramilitary groups will force it to reconsider its relationship and work with the US-led international anti-ISIL coalition stationed there. He added that the attacks were a violation of sovereignty and that US forces acted on their own priorities and political conclusions.
The protection of Iraq, its military bases and all troops stationed there is the sole responsibility of the Iraqi security forces, the council said.
Russia denounces "unacceptable,quot; exchanges of strikes
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday described the "exchange of attacks,quot; between Hezbollah and US forces in Iraq as "unacceptable," and called for the restriction of both sides.
"We believe that such actions are unacceptable and counterproductive. We call on all parties to refrain from new actions that can drastically destabilize the political-military situation in Iraq, Syria and neighboring countries," a ministry statement said.
Russia is a key sponsor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria urges the United States not to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs
Syria condemned US airstrikes in the region and expressed its solidarity with Iraq and its people, state news agency Sana reported.
An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday: "Syria denounces the US attack on the Popular Mobilization Forces that defend Iraq's sovereignty and independence, as well as denounces any aggression that aims at sovereignty, independence and freedom of Iraq and its people. " Sana reported.
"Syria expresses its full solidarity with the people and institutes of Iraq, and reiterates its demands for the United States not to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs," the source said, according to Sana.
Israel praises the "important operation,quot; against Iran and its representatives
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he congratulated the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, "for the important US operation against Iran and its representatives in the region."
In his comments, Netanyahu praised the "important action by the United States against Iran and its militias in the Persian Gulf region," the Jerusalem Post reported.
Iran condemns US support for & # 39; terrorism & # 39;
Iran, which denies its involvement in the attacks against US forces, condemned the raids as "terrorism."
"This claim without any evidence cannot justify the bombing and murder of people in violation of international law," said Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
"These attacks have once again demonstrated the false claims of the United States in the fight against Daesh … as the United States has pointed to the positions of the forces that over the years have inflicted heavy blows on Daesh's terrorists. "Iran’s government spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said on Monday, referring separately. to ISIL.
"With these attacks, the United States has shown its strong support for terrorism and its negligence for the independence and sovereignty of countries and must accept the consequences of their illegal act," he said in a statement.
The spokesman said that the presence of foreign forces in the region was the cause of insecurity and tensions.
"The United States must end its occupying presence," Mousavi said.
Kataib Hezbollah says that the battle with the United States & # 39; is now open & # 39;
In a statement Sunday night, Kataib Hezbollah said his battle with the United States is "now open."
"Our battle with the United States and its mercenaries is now open to all possibilities," the target group said in a statement.
"Today we have no alternative but confrontation and there is nothing that prevents us from responding to this crime."
The great ayatollah Ali al-Sistani denounces & # 39;heinous aggression
The main Shiite cleric in Iraq asked the Iraqi government to intervene and prevent the country from becoming "a scenario to settle accounts,quot; between regional and international powers.
In a statement, the great ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemned the "heinous aggression,quot; by the United States and called for respect for Iraq's sovereignty and refraining from violating it "under the pretext of responding to some illegal practices of some parties."
However, Al-Sistani added that "only the Iraqi authorities have the right to deal with these practices and take the necessary measures to prevent them."
The cleric's comments seemed to be a warning against any reprisals by Iran-backed paramilitary groups.
The Popular Mobilization Forces threaten the & # 39; hard response & # 39; of the US forces
PMF commander Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, also known as Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, promised on Sunday to seek revenge against US forces in Iraq.
"Our response will be very hard for US forces in Iraq," Mohandes said.
Mohandes is a senior commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces of Iraq (PMF), a group of paramilitary organizations that mostly consist of Shia militias backed by Iran that were integrated into Iraq's armed forces.
He is also one of Iran's most powerful allies in Iraq and previously directed Kataib Hezbollah, which he founded.