Shiite militias in Iraq
Shiite militias in IraqReuters

The most powerful Iran-backed militia in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah, announced on Tuesday that it would suspend its attacks against US forces in the region, two days after a drone attack in Jordan killed three US service members and wounded dozens of others.

“We are announcing the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces (US troops) – in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government,” Kataib Hezbollah said in a statement quoted by CNN.

“We will continue to defend our people in Gaza in other ways, and we recommend to the brave Mujahideen of the Free Hezbollah Brigades to [carry out] passive defense (temporarily) if any hostile American action occurs towards them,” it added.

The group is considered the most powerful armed faction in Iraq and is an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias in the country. US strikes have targeted Kataib Hezbollah in the past and has specifically singled it out as likely to have carried out the deadly attack on Sunday.

Asked about the statement, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said at a briefing Tuesday, “We’ve seen those reports. I don’t have a specific comment to provide other than actions speak louder than words.”

“I don’t think we could be any more clear that we have called on the Iranian proxy groups to stop their attacks. They have not. And so we will respond in a time and manner of our choosing,” Ryder added.

Earlier on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said he has decided how to respond to the drone attack.

Biden told reporters that the United States does not need a wider war in the Middle East but did not elaborate on his decision, which came after consultations with top advisers.

"I don't think we need a wider war in the Middle East. That's not what I'm looking for," the President stated.

When asked if he had decided how to respond to the attacks, Biden replied in the affirmative.

Asked if Iran was responsible, Biden added: "I do hold....them responsible in the sense that they're supplying the weapons" to those who carried out the attacks.

On Monday, officials told CNN the US’ response to the drone attack in Jordan is likely to be more powerful than previous American retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria.

The Biden administration could decide to again strike the militant groups in Iraq, Syria or both countries, and could also target the leadership of the regional militias. In at least one case in early January, the US targeted a senior member of Harakat al-Nujaba, an Iranian proxy that has attacked US forces. An offensive cyberattack is another option, officials noted.