“Since October 17 Eastern time, we’ve had 20 attacks in Iraq, 18 in Syria — total of 38,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists on Monday, describing them as being “essentially… harassing attacks”.
The attacks have caused a total of 45 injuries to American personnel, all of them prior to the US strikes in Syria that were carried out on October 26, Ryder added.
The surge in attacks on US troops is linked to the war between Israel and Hamas, which began when the group carried out a shock cross-border attack from Gaza on October 7 that Israeli officials say killed more than 1,400 people.
Israel’s military responded with a relentless air, land and naval assault on Gaza that the territory’s health ministry said Monday has left more than 10,000 people dead.
Washington has accused Iran-backed militias, but admitted there is no evidence to pin blame on Tehran’s leadership for ordering the strikes.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has denied that Iran had instructed groups in Syria and Iraq to target US troops in recent days.
He stated it was Washington — not Tehran — that was fanning the violence in the region.
“The US could face dire consequences in the Middle East if it continues to support Israel,” Amiradbollahian stressed, adding that Washington “is advising others to show self-restraint, but it has sided with Israel totally”.
“If the United States continues what it has been doing so far, then new fronts will be opened up against the United States.”
He also cautioned that the continued bloodshed in Gaza “will make the situation get out of control in the region.”
“The American side should decide – does it really want to escalate, intensify the war?” he asked.
The foreign minister went on to deny that Iran had instructed militant groups in Iraq and Syria to attack the US, insisting that they were acting on their own.
“They’re not receiving any orders from us, any instructions,” he noted.
Iran has repeatedly warned the United States against any act of mischief in the region.