The US maintains a military presence in the country, and is leading a global coalition to fight the ISIL (ISIS) group. Iran wields vast influence over Iraqi politics. Iran also backs a number of Iraqi militias like Hashd-al Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation of Forces (PMF), an umbrella of armed groups.
These militias have long sought the withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq. The US forces have faced a spare of rocket attacks in past months, blaming them on pro-Iran PMF factions.
On 27th December 2019, a rocket attack on Iraqi military base in Kirkuk killed a US contractor and wounded several US service members and Iraqi personnel. The US officials blamed Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia, for the attack.
The US department said that the Kataib Hezbollah militia has strong linkage with Iran’s Quds Force, the overseas operations arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corp (IRGC), and had repeatedly received lethal aid and other support from Iran.
Featured image is representative.