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Iranian-Backed Group Kills 3 Coalition Force Members in Iraq

March 12, 2020 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

Two U.S. service members and a British soldier were killed and 14 others were wounded when an Iranian-backed Shia militia group in Iraq launched an attack against Camp Taji yesterday, DOD officials said today.

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said officials in Iraq know who launched the attack and that group will not escape justice. Esper spoke during a Pentagon news gaggle this morning.

The attack follows an action near Kirkuk earlier this week that killed two Marine Raiders.

Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies."
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided more details saying the group launched about thirty 107 mm rockets against the Iraqi training base. Up to 18 hit the area housing coalition forces who are involved in the mission to train, advise and assist.
"We have pretty good confidence we know who did this," Milley said. "We were able to capture the truck. [It] was a modified truck with rocket tubes on the back."

Milley said Iraqi security forces did a good job finding and securing the truck. Through forensics, coalition officials were able to pinpoint the location where the rockets were launched.

Both Esper and Milley are in consultation with their British counterparts as to the next steps.

Military vehicles drive on flat terrain.
Taji Travel
Soldiers travel to a range at Camp Taji, Iraq, Feb. 7, 2020.
Photo By: Army Capt. Richard Wharton
VIRIN: 200207-A-DN756-966R

"Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies," Esper said. "All options are on the table as we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence. As we've demonstrated, in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region."