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Suspected U.S. strike in Iraq kills five militia members, sources say

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Dec 3 (Reuters) – A suspected U.S. air strike killed five members of an Iran-aligned Iraqi armed group north of the city of Kirkuk as they were preparing to launch projectiles at U.S. forces in the country, three Iraqi security sources said.

U.S. military officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A U.S. military official earlier in the day said U.S. and international forces faced an attack with multiple rockets at the Rumalyn Landing Zone in northeastern Syria, but there were no casualties or damage to infrastructure.

Iraqi armed groups have claimed more than 70 such attacks against U.S. forces since Oct. 17 over Washington’s backing of Israel in its bombardment of Gaza.

The attacks paused during the recent Israel-Hamas ceasefire but have since resumed.

The U.S. in November launched two series of strikes against what it said were Iran-aligned armed groups who had engaged in attacks against their forces.

Those strikes killed at least 10 militants who were identified both as members of shadowy militia Kataeb Hezbollah and of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, an official security institution composed mainly of Shi’ite Muslim armed groups, many with close links to Iran.

Iraq’s government condemned those strikes as escalatory and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

The United States has 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq on a mission it says aims to advise and assist local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State, which in 2014 seized large swaths of both countries before being defeated.

Reporting By Timour Azhari; Editing by Sharon Singleton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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