The coronavirus pandemic will not stop the United States from waging retaliatory attacks against Iranian-backed militia groups that launch strikes on American outposts in Iraq, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
"We will always respond to protect and defend Americans," Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday when asked about recent attacks by Iranian-armed militia groups in Iraq. "Whether it's our diplomats in our embassies and consulates inside of Iraq, or Department of Defense people who are serving or there are civilians who are contractors, we'll always do everything we can to defend and protect them. We will respond if they are threatened."
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The coronavirus has not impacted the United States' ability to respond, Pompeo said. His remarks come on the heels of a missile attack on coalition forces in Iraq that killed two Americans and one British soldier.
As the Iranian regime struggles to combat the virus's spread, it has not stopped providing financial resources and weapons to terrorist factions across the region.
"We have seen attacks on Americans, attempted efforts in some cases as well as inside of Iraq conducted by Shia militias," Pompeo said.
Pompeo said the State Department is aware those Shia militias have been trained and equipped by Iran.
"We will respond against all of those who facilitated, trained, equipped, and enabled those attacks on America," Pompeo said. "That holds as true today as it did two weeks, four weeks, or back in the beginning of January, when we took a strike against [Iranian general] Qassem Soleimani."