The White House said Iranian-backed militias in Iraq had carried out “life-threatening attacks” against the US consulate in Basra and the US Embassy in Baghdad and warned Washington would hold Tehran responsible if there are future assaults, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
“The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States government facilities,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “America will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives.”
The statement followed an attack on Saturday in which several rockets were fired at the Basra airport, where the US consulate is located.
At least one rocket also was fired at the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where the US Embassy is based, and mortar fire also struck the Green Zone earlier in the week.
The rocket attack in Basra followed accusations by Abu Medhi al-Mohandis, a Shiite militia commander who US officials say has long been supported by Iran, that the US was responsible for demonstrations in which the Iranian consulate in the city was stormed and set on fire and the offices of most political parties, including Iranian-backed paramilitary groups, were destroyed.
While some initial news reports suggested that the Basra airport was the target of the rocket fire, one US official said it is clear that the real objective was the US diplomatic mission there.