The Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah announced in a statement that it is suspending all military operations against American troops, according to a statement shared with local media outlets.
The statement comes a day after the Pentagon blamed the group, which is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, for the drone attack that killed three U.S. troops and injured over 40 others in Jordan this weekend. President Joe Biden has said the United States will respond to the attack, though the group said it wanted to suspend attacks against U.S. troops “to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.”
Iranian-backed proxies have been wreaking havoc in the Middle East ever since the Israel-Gaza war broke out in October, with proxies launching over 150 attacks against American entities in Iraq and Syria so far.
The attack over the weekend in Jordan, which hit a logistics base known as Tower 22, was the first known enemy attack to have taken American lives since the war in Gaza began.
The Biden administration and other governments have sought to quell tension in the region to prevent Israel’s war in Gaza from spilling over into a wider war. The United States attacked several Kataib Hezbollah facilities earlier this month in response to earlier attacks. The United States has met Houthi rebels’ attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea with strikes against Houthi targets to degrade their tactical capabilities.
Two U.S. Navy SEALS died in an operation aimed at intercepting Iranian weapons destined for the Houthi rebels earlier this month.
President Biden has met with his national security staff on multiple occasions since the Jordan drone attack to plot the next steps. As of Tuesday morning, he had decided on how to respond to the attack, according to a White House pool report.
Biden has been reiterating that the United States is not seeking a broader war, even as the administration plans to retaliate for the attack in Jordan.
“I don't think we need a wider war in the Middle East. That's not what I'm looking for.”
It was not immediately clear if the Kataib Hezbollah statement would impact or change the administration’s planned response.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Pentagon indicated it wouldn’t take the statement at face value.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday.