3 American soldiers were injured in a raid in Iraq
The US military carries out retaliatory air strikes against Iranian-backed militias after three service members were wounded in Iraq.
FOX – 4 News
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden directed air strikes in Iraq after three U.S. service members were hit by a one-way attack drone early Monday morning in Erbil Air Base.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson He said in a statement The Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia and other groups affiliated with it claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred on Christmas Day. One American soldier was seriously injured.
After Biden was informed of the situation and the casualties, he ordered the Defense Department to arrange retaliation options. The president ultimately directed strikes against three sites used by Kataib Hezbollah and associated groups that “particularly focused on drone activities,” Watson said.
The response was carried out at approximately 4:45 a.m. in Iraq, approximately 12 hours after US personnel were injured. Iraqi officials said that the strikes resulted in the death of a gunman and the wounding of 18 others.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin He said in a separate statement that The strikes were “aimed to disrupt and weaken the capabilities” of the groups responsible.
The airstrikes likely killed “a number of Kataib Hezbollah fighters,” according to a statement issued by US Central Command.
Biden issued a warning to Iran last month that the United States would retaliate if his country attacked US forces amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“These strikes aim to hold accountable those elements directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria and reduce their ability to continue attacks,” General Eric Kurella, commander of US Central Command, said in a statement.
The Pentagon took several steps to contain the war in Gaza after Hamas launched attacks on Israel on October 7. The main concern has been the Iranian-backed armed groups operating in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and the Houthi rebels they support in Yemen.
Militants in Syria and Iraq intensified their missile attacks on bases housing American forces. Since October 7, there have been about 80 such attacks, and the Pentagon has launched airstrikes on missile storage and launch sites. In one case, an Air Force AC-130 gunship responded to an ongoing attack by firing on the militants.
In addition, the Pentagon formed a coalition to defend shipping in the Red Sea after several drone attacks on commercial ships by Houthi rebels.
He added: “And again, as you know, all roads lead to Iran when it comes to sponsoring these attacks.” Gen. Pat Rader, Pentagon press secretary, made the announcement earlier this month.
Over the weekend, Houthi rebels fired drones and missiles at ships, including the US warship USS Labone. The guided-missile destroyer Laboon was patrolling the Red Sea as part of Operation Prosperity Sentinel, according to Central Command. It shot down four drones that targeted it.
Houthi militants have launched 15 attacks on commercial ships since October 17.
Contributing: Joy Garrison, Francesca Chambers, USA Today; News agency
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