Less than a week after three US troops were killed in a drone attack in Jordan, America kept its promise of launching retaliatory strikes. President Biden warned that more such hits will follow.
“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing. Let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden said in a statement.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said its forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. More than 85 targets were struck with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from the United States.
The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions. The targets were command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against U.S. and coalition forces.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups continue to represent a direct threat to the stability of Iraq, the region, and the safety of Americans, said CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, adding that “we will continue to take action, do whatever is necessary to protect our people, and hold those responsible who threaten their safety”.
Reports said the strikes lasted around 30 minutes, at seven sites—three in Iraq and four in Syria. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 18 militants were killed in the Syria strikes, according to Associated Press.
Casualties on the Iraqi side aren’t clear but the Iraqi government reacted strongly. The American air strikes in Al-Qaim and the Iraqi border areas are a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and an undermining of the government’s efforts, said Major General Yahya Rasoul, spokesperson for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Last Sunday, three US soldiers were killed in a drone strike in Jordan.