An Iranian-backed Shiite militia said Monday it would treat U.S. Marines deployed in Iraq to fight the Islamic State group as forces of occupation, saying it will "deal" with the foreign troops.
The militia reacted angrily to Washington’s detachment of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Iraq on Sunday, measure aimed at bolstering its efforts against the Islamic State group, which controls large swathes of the country’s north.
"If the U.S. administration doesn't withdraw its forces immediately, we will deal with them as forces of occupation," a Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia official said on the militia's TV channel, al-Ahd.
"The forces of occupation are making a new suspicious attempt to restore their presence in the country under the pretext of fighting their own creation, Daesh," the official added, referring to an acronym for Islamic State group.
The additional troops sent by the U.S. to aid the war on the terror was also condemned by the Hezbollah Brigades, another Iraqi militia.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Shi'a Islamist militant group said that the U.S. "increasingly intervenes in Iraq's issues" and is to blame for the rise of the Islamic State group.
"ISIS, the stepdaughter of the Americans, is taking its last breaths, so the Americans dispatched their ground troops to protect the 'clinically dead' body of ISIS," Hezbollah's statement read. "We have vanquished the American occupation with our quality and quantity in the past and we will continue attacking them, with our resources significantly increased.”
The condemnation comes despite the fact that many of Iraq's militias benefit from U.S. weapons. The Hezbollah Brigades, for instance, were recently photographed driving U.S. Abrams tanks.
The U.S. deployment of extra troops, meanwhile, comes a day after a U.S. Marine was killed by an Islamic State group rocket which also seriously injured another U.S. citizen in the town of Makhmur, 75 miles southeast of Mosul, an Islamic State group stronghold.