On Thursday pro-Iranian media in Iraq uploaded rare video showing an IED attack on an American convoy in Anbar province at a moment of continuing tit-for-tat between the US coalition and Iran-backed Shia Iraq militia groups in the region.
The video shows a direct hit on the convoy, with a statement saying, "An Iraqi group calling itself 'The International Resistance' claimed responsibility for targeting an American logistics convoy in city of Fallujah today," as reported by Newsweek national security correspondent Tom O-Connor.
Video: The "International Resistance Faction" has now released footage which allegedly documents its IED attack earlier today targeting a convoy supplying the U.S. military as it passed near the city of Fallujah in Iraq's Anbar Province. pic.twitter.com/IK6ApATyRZ— Evan Kohlmann (@IntelTweet) March 11, 2021
A pro-Iranian statement described further it was an "operation targeting American logistics convoy with indirect fire and dual attack on the international road linking Basra and Nasiriyah governorates."
The fact that footage of the attack was made public via online video suggests Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces are trying to keep up military and public pressure to push American troops out, also amid continuing anger over Trump's assassination of IRGC Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.
Regional media, including Iranian state sources, are describing a spate of bombings against US forces in Iraq on Thursday:
Three roadside bombs have exploded separately near convoys of trucks carrying logistical equipment belonging to the US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, southern province of Muthanna bordering Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as the central province of Babil.
The Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network, citing an unnamed police source, reported that the first attack took place when a roadside bomb went off as a convoy of vehicles was traveling along the international highway leading to Anbar province on Thursday.
The blast wounded a woman who happened to be crossing the road at the moment of the incident.
While in the recent past such IED attacks on US and NATO convoys have reportedly occurred on a monthly basis, often with pro-Iranian militants taking credit, it's much less common for 'proof' of such attacks to be made available so quickly after.
The Iraqi muqawama just published footage of a purported attack on a U.S. logistic convoy in Fallujah. This is the first clear evidence of an apparent convoy attack in months. In recent months the muqawama claimed numerous such hits but were hesitant to present clear evidence. pic.twitter.com/zdZnu9T4hZ— Hamdi Malik, PhD. (@HamdiAMalik) March 11, 2021
Last month Biden ordered Pentagon airstrikes on 'Iranian militia' positions inside eastern Syria. Part of the rationale offered for hitting inside Syria and not Iraq (despite it being 'retaliation' for a militia rocket attack on a US base in Erbil) was to not stir up tensions too intensely in Iraq and with the Iraqi population.
Judging by this latest 'direct hit' on a US convoy near Fallujah, however, the Biden administration doesn't appear to have accomplished such a desired 'deconfliction'. This also after Katyusha rockets rained down Ain al-Assad military base which houses US forces in western Iraq earlier this month.
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And judging also by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's latest threats, escalation is most definitely in the air, returning Iraq to the war-footing that marked January 2020 following the killing of Soleimani and PMU leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on Baghdad Airport road:
NEW: Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin tells @MarthaRaddatz the U.S. is still assessing who carried out recent rocket attack on base in Iraq housing U.S. troops—and that if the U.S. decides to respond, it will be "at a time and place of our own choosing." https://t.co/dp6TAdiT33 pic.twitter.com/UPoDIhgOT1— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 5, 2021