By Amer al-Hassani
BAGHDAD (AA) – A Shia group on Tuesday threatened to target U.S. forces in Iraq amid tension over recent attacks on Iran-linked groups in the country.
The threat came in a video posted on the Internet by Jund Al-Imam Al-Hujja, in which a group of masked gunmen appeared during a training with rockets, while a leader of the armed group made the statement.
"U.S. military and civilian bases have become legitimate targets for us," the masked man said, directing his message to U.S. President Donald Trump.
The speaker pointed out that the group's motive is based on a fatwa (religious edict) by prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Kazem al-Haeri, who lives in Iran.
On Friday, Al-Haeri accused Israel of carrying out drone attacks with support of U.S. forces in Iraq against the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi forces.
Roughly 5,000 U.S. troops have remained deployed in Iraq since the U.S. cobbled a coalition together in 2014 with the stated aim of fighting Daesh terrorist group.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at Israel's involvement in the attacks against Iranian targets in Iraq.
Israel views Iraq as a potential growing base for Iran. Both Tel Aviv and Tehran are regional arch enemies.
Israel has carried out several airstrikes against Iranian targets in war-torn Syria, where Tehran is supporting the Bashar al-Assad regime.