Two coalition convoys hit in Iraq: security sources
Two convoys transporting logistical equipment for the US-led coalition were targeted with roadside bombs on Thursday, security sources said, with a shadowy pro-Iran group claiming responsibility for both attacks.
They mark the first time coalition convoys have been hit by improvised explosive devices since mid-October, when pro-Iran factions announced they would indefinitely stop targeting Western installations, including such convoys.
Early on Thursday, one convoy was hit in the southern province of Muthanna after it had crossed into Iraq from Kuwait, two security sources and one businessman with knowledge of the cargo told AFP.
The second was struck later on in the Latifiya region on the outskirts of Baghdad, another security source said.
Both caused material damage but no casualties.
In recent weeks, only one other attack on November 18 saw a volley of rockets slam into the US embassy and various parts of the Iraqi capital.
The truce had otherwise put an end to a year of rocket and roadside bomb attacks on foreign military and diplomatic sites in Iraq, with the US embassy in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone as a main target.
It was announced in mid-October, after the US threatened to close its diplomatic mission in Baghdad.
Read more: Iran-backed Iraqi militias agree 'conditional ceasefire' to halt US attacks
Leading figures in Iraq's pro-Iran blocs had confirmed the ceasefire in October, but none were willing to comment on whether Thursday's attacks represented its end.
"Qasem al-Jabbarin," a group which has identified itself as part of the Iran-linked "Islamic Resistance" network in Iraq, claimed responsibility for both attacks.
"Our patience has run out, the truce is over, and the targeting of occupation forces will resume," it said in a statement, shared online Thursday on pro-Iran channels.
In recent months, around a half-dozen new groups claiming to be part of the "Islamic Resistance" have made statements against the US or claimed similar attacks.
They began cropping up following the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and top Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a US drone strike outside the Baghdad airport in January.
Muhandis was the deputy head of the state-sponsored Hashed al-Shaabi network, which is dominated by pro-Iran armed factions.
Both US and Iraqi officials say that factions like Qasem al-Jabbarin are in fact smokescreens for hardline Iran-backed factions in Iraq looking to publicly distance themselves from the rocket attacks.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected