President Joe Biden directed military forces to conduct defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region on Sunday evening, according to a news release from the Department of Defense.
“The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in the release.
“As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel.
Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks,” Kirby said.
At least four Iran-backed militia fighters in Iraq and Syria were killed in the airstrikes, Iraqi militia said in a statement released Monday.
An Iran-backed Shia militia group in Iraq, known as Kataib Hezbollah, said that they will retaliate against the US airstrike.
“This crime will not go unpunished, the decision for revenge has been taken, and the American enemy will see death with his own eyes. An eye for an eye and what is coming is severe,” Kataib Hezbollah said in its Telegram page.
Returning to the White House Sunday evening from a weekend at Camp David, Biden did not stop to answer questions about the airstrikes, telling reporters gathered on the South Lawn, “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
A spokesperson for the National Security Council referred CNN’s request for comment to the Pentagon Sunday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Sunday evening that the airstrikes “appear to be a targeted and proportional response to a serious and specific threat.”
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