Iran-Backed Militia In Iraq Claims Responsibility For Missile Attack On U.S. Military Base In Syria

January 4, 2023

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In the early hours of January 4, 2023, an Iran-backed Iraqi militia, Ahl Al-Tha'er (People Of Vengeance), posted a brief statement on its Telegram channel claiming responsibility for a missile attack on the U.S. military base in the Al-Omar oil field in Deir Al-Zour, Syria.[1]

The statement indicated that the attack was intended to avenge the deaths of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, both of whom were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

"O martyrs' revenge: Qassem Soleimani, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. In response to your call, we will defend the vulnerable people on earth. Your sons in the Islamic resistance managed to target the base in Al-Omar oil field which houses the American occupation forces with five 122 mm Grad missiles on January 4, 2023, hitting their target accurately. Allah is the grantor of success and attainment."

The Telegram channel, which has the same name as the group, was created on March 14, 2022, and regularly shares content glorifying Soleimani and Al-Muhandis and claims of responsibility for past attacks carried out by other Iran-backed militias in Iraq such as Al-Wartheen Formation and Ashab Al-Kahf on U.S. targets. It often uses a hashtag that reads: "The media jihad."

Earlier Threats

On January 3, Telegram channels linked to Iran-backed militias in Iraq shared posts highlighting statements made by militia leaders threatening to target the U.S. interests in order to avenge Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.[2]

Later in the day, Telegram channels linked to these militia leaders reported on a missile attack on the U.S. base in Al-Omar oil field, calling for more attacks throughout the night.[3]

CENTCOM Statement

The U.S. Central Command issued a statement confirming that two rockets targeted the coalition forces at Mission Support Site Conoco in northeast Syria. The statement released on January 4 added that the attack caused no injuries or damage to the base or coalition property.

The CENTCOM statement further noted that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) visited the origin site and found a third unfired rocket.

The statement quoted CENTCOM Spokesman Col. Joe Buccino who stated that "Attacks of this kind place coalition forces and the civilian populace at risk and undermine the hard-earned stability and security of Syria and the region."[4]


[1] Telegram, January 4, 2023.

[2] See MEMRI JTTM report, Commanders Of Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq Mark Qassem Soleimani, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis Assassination Anniversary With Threats To End U.S. Presence In Iraq, West Asia; Vow Trump Will Pay Price, January 3, 2023. Also, see MEMRI JTTM report, Iran-Backed Iraqi Telegram Channels Issue Statements Commemorating Third Anniversary Of Assassination Of Qasem Soleimani And Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, Vow Revenge, January 4, 2023.

[3] See MEMRI JTTM report, Telegram Outlets Linked To Iran-Backed Militias In Iraq Report Missile Attack On U.S Base In Syria, Call For More Attacks Tonight To Avenge Soleimani, Al-Muhandis, January 3, 2023.

[4], January 4, 2023.

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