United States conducts airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria

  • United States conducts airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria

United States conducts airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria

'The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel.

The strikes were in response to a rocket attack in Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and injured a USA service personnel. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who recommended the strikes, said he was confident they hit the correct targets.

"It was my recommendation". We've said a number of times, we will respond on our timeline.

"Right now, we're not able to give you a certain attribution as to who was behind these attacks, what groups, and I'm not going to get into the tactical details of every bit of weaponry used here", Mr Kirby said.

The US action followed three rocket attacks on facilities in Iraq used by United States and coalition forces fighting the Islamic State group.

This file image grab taken from Kurdistan 24 TV channel on February 19, 2021 shows damage following a rocket attack two days ago targeting a military complex inside the Arbil airport that hosts foreign troops deployed as part of a US-led coalition - Rockets are again raining down on U.S. targets in Iraq in attacks that, analysts say, show Iran-aligned factions are heaping pressure on the government while Tehran grows impatient with the new USA administration. Biden has agreed to European-led talks with Iran about the future of the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal that President Donald Trump renounced. The United States, led by the International Anti-Jihadi Coalition, is stationing about 2,500 troops there, backed by al-Hussein al-Sabi, a powerful ally of paramilitary forces affiliated with the Iranian government in Iraq.

The airstrike was the first military action undertaken by the Biden Administration, which in its first weeks has emphasised its intent to put more focus on the challenges posed by China, even as Middle Eastern threats persist.

This year, the pro-Iran groups typically blamed for such attacks - including Kataeb Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq - have been quick to condemn the strikes.

"However much they believe the US should lift sanctions first, that's not going to happen", said a USA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Other Republicans, including Sen.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called the strikes "targeted, proportional and necessary". According to the Washington Post, the strike "was believed to have killed up to a handful of people".

In January 2020, the military launched a strike killing a senior Iranian military figure, Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday the US holds Iran responsible for the recent attacks.

He added that he and Biden stressed the importance of continued strategic dialogue on the basis of Iraqi sovereignty.

He also sees the attacks as a message sent from Tehran to Washington, as both adversaries stand firm on their position on the 2015 deal to shape Iran's nuclear program.