The US Armed Forces began deploying Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) in Iraq. This was announced on Friday at a briefing for journalists in the Pentagon by the head of the US Central Command, whose operational zone includes the Middle East, General Kenneth Mackenzie.
“We are now transferring Patriot systems to Iraq. We have placed preparatory materials in place, which will allow us to create positions of Patriot [complexes] inside Iraq”, – the US military commander said.
“As for the systems for intercepting missiles, artillery and mortar shells of the enemy and other weapons used to protect these systems, we are still separated from the readiness of these systems for a certain number of days”, – added Mackenzie.
He also emphasized that Patriot air defense systems are not intended to intercept, for example, artillery shells and, from this point of view, will not contribute to enhancing the security of those facilities in Iraq where American troops are deployed. Patriot systems are used to intercept “the missiles of the types that Iran used in its state-to-state attack in early January”, when Tehran attacked US bases in Iraq in response to the assassination of Major General Kassem Soleimani, Mackenzie said.
The fact that Washington requested permission from Baghdad to deploy Patriot air defense systems in Iraq was announced at the end of January by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (KNS) of the US Armed Forces, Mark Milli.
The situation in the Middle East sharply worsened after a US missile strike on the Baghdad airport on the night of January 3, which killed the commander of the special forces Al-Quds of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC, elite units of the Iranian Armed Forces) Kassem Suleimani. In response, on the night of January 8, Tehran launched a missile attack on two objects in Iraq that the US military used: Ain al-Assad base and Erbil airport.Turkey named date of joint patrol with Russia in Idlib