WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement in response to the recent rocket attacks in Iraq that killed an American contractor and wounded several others, and the American military’s response with airstrikes.  

“I want to express my condolences to the family of the U.S. contractor killed Friday in an attack carried out by Kata’ib Hizbollah. I also want to wish a speedy recovery to those who sustained wounds in the attack.

“U.S. military forces and civilian contractors are serving in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government to defeat ISIS and strengthen Iraq’s institutions of national defense in order to prevent ISIS’ return. Kata’ib Hizbollah’s cowardly and unprovoked attacks on U.S. and Iraqi military forces demonstrates it is operating outside the law and not in service of Iraq’s national interest.

“For months I have been deeply concerned about the seemingly increased risk of military escalation and tension in the region. Now, more than ever, I cannot overstate the importance of increased diplomatic engagement with Iran to deter future aggression and slow the cycle of escalating violence that further destabilizes the region.”