Jordan denies taking part in US airstrikes on Iraqi militias
The Jordanian army has denied on Saturday participation in recent US airstrikes inside Iraq which targeted Iran-backed militant groups.
The US military launched retaliatory airstrikes against Iranian forces and Tehran-backed militia groups in both Iraq and Syria on Friday, following a recent drone attack that killed three American soldiers at Tower 22, a remote base in northeastern Jordan.
Reports had circulated that the Royal Jordanian Air Force participated in these attacks, prompting the military to release its statement on Saturday.
"There is no truth to the press reports that were circulated this morning (Saturday) about the participation of Jordanian aircraft in the operations carried out by American aircraft inside Iraq," Jordan’s official news agency quoted a military source as saying.
"The Jordanian Armed Forces respect the sovereignty of brotherly Iraq," the source said, stressing "the depth of the brotherly relations that unite Jordan with all Arab countries."
The military called on the public "not to address rumours circulating on social media sites, and to obtain information only from official sources."
'Gaza war could ignite region'
"It is certain that the Jordanian army did not participate in these strikes, and all official sides [in Jordan] have confirmed this," Jordanian journalist Mohammad Qubaylat told The New Arab.
He said speculation that Jordan took part in the strikes was likely due to the presence of US forces in the kingdom.
Washington had said the attack on the Tower 22 base threatened the security of its close ally, Jordan. It was the first time US troops were killed in the region since the start of the Gaza war on October 7.
"The Americans are trying to widen the scope of confrontation and make it seem as if there’s a war on terror happening, to negate the original cause which is Gaza," said Qubaylat.
He said the US is trying to separate what’s happening in the region from what’s happening in Gaza, stressing that this will ultimately fail.
"The whole region will enter a prolonged war if the [Israeli] aggression continues on Gaza."
Israel’s unprecedented air and ground invasion has killed over 27,000 people in Gaza since October 7, mainly civilians.
The war has since dragged in Iran-backed factions who say they are targeting American and Israeli interests in solidarity with the Palestinians. They are also calling for the complete pullout of US forces from the region.
Hezbollah in southern Lebanon has engaged in deadly cross-border clashes with Israel, Yemen’s Houthis have attacked vessels in the Red Sea heading to Israeli ports, and Iran-backed militias have attacked US forces in Iraq and Syria over Washington’s support for Tel Aviv.
The flareups are a cause of increasing concern that the Gaza war could plunge the region into a wider conflagration.