American forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked 38 times with rockets and drones since mid-October, injuring dozens of American personnel, the Pentagon said Monday.
Washington has blamed the spike in attacks on Iran-backed forces, and American warplanes carried out strikes in late October against sites in Syria that the Pentagon said were linked to Tehran.
“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, 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 said.
The surge in attacks on US troops is linked to the war between Israel and Hamas, which began when the militant 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.
There are roughly 2,500 American troops in Iraq and some 900 in Syria as part of efforts to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group, which once held significant territory in both countries but was pushed back by local ground forces backed by international air strikes in a bloody multi-year conflict.