- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2020

The Iran-allied Iraqi militia group at the center of a military confrontation with the Trump administration said the “door to jihad” has been opened against U.S. forces in the country and called for supporters to carry out Islamic State-style “lone wolf” attacks against American assets across the region.

The direction was contained in a message posted by the Iraqi Kata-ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades) to its followers, according to the SITE Intelligence Group monitoring service.

U.S. officials said Kata-ib Hezbollah was behind the rocket attacks last month on U.S. positions inside Iraq that killed an American contractor and wounded several troops. That set in motion a series of events — including a U.S. counterstrike, a violent protest at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the U.S. killing of leading Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a salvo of Iranian missiles this week at Iraqi bases housing American troops — that have rocked the region.

“Abu Ali al-Askari, head of security for Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, stresses ‘door of jihad’ against U.s. troops in Iraq is open and, echoing ISIS lone wolf calls, demands ‘all jihadists’ in and outside Iraq carry out ops ‘per your way’ and ‘claim your work,” SITE Director Rita Katz said in a tweet.

In Iran, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ aerospace wing warned that the Iranian missile attacks were just the start of “vast operations” to drive U.S. troops from the region.

“The missile strikes on one of the United States’ most important bases … was the start of big operations which will continue in the entire region,” IRGC Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told reporters in Tehran Thursday, according to the Iranian Fars News agency.

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