The US launched strikes in Iran-linked militia targets in Syria and Iraq in response to Sunday’s drone attack on a US military base in Jordan that left three soldiers dead.
According to US officials, the coordinated attack was against Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force and allied militia groups.
The US government announced yesterday that it had carried out “successful” retaliatory strikes against elite Iranian armed forces and armed groups close to Iran in areas of Iraq and Syria, with the US president warning that they would “continue”.
Yesterday US President Joe Biden visited a military base in the northeastern United States to attend the repatriation of the bodies of the three members of the American armed forces who were killed Sunday.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that the US military response “will continue at times and places of our choosing.”
“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden said.
The US launched 85 strikes on the militia targets – three in Iraq and four in Syria – said John Kirby, a spokesman for the US presidency’s National Security Council.
The attacks lasted “about thirty minutes” and was “successful”, the White House said, reassuring that it does not want “war” with Iran.
The operation involved several aircraft, including B-1 Lancer long-range bombers, the US Pentagon said.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 18 fighters from factions close to Iran were killed in eastern Syria.
Response to the Drone Attack in Jordan
Prior to the US attacks, officials said that the strikes will take place over a number of days, and launch times will depend on weather conditions, according to a BBC report.
The Iranian-backed militia group Islamic Resistance in Iraq took credit for the attack.
The group is believed to comprise several militias which have been armed, funded, and trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards force.
However, Iran has denied any involvement in the attack at the military base known as Tower 22 in Jordan which killed three service men and injured 41. However, four US officials cited by Reuters have said the US intelligence believes the drone used for the attack was manufactured by Iran.
At a news conference on Thursday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US would “not tolerate attacks on American troops.”
Austin added, “We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests and our people. We will respond where we choose, when we choose and how we choose.”