Following an Attack on US Troops, Biden Orders Retaliation on Militias Backed by Iran

( — The president on Monday ordered three retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militants after a drone attack launched on a military base in Iraq left three US service members injured, CBS News reported.

The militant group Kataib Hezbollah launched a drone attack early Monday morning on the Erbil Airbase in northern Iraq, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Three US service members were wounded, and one of them was left in critical condition, the secretary said.

In a statement on Monday, National Security Council spokeswoman Adriene Watson confirmed that after being briefed on the attack, President Biden ordered retaliatory strikes following a phone call with Secretary Austin and the president’s national security team.

The retaliatory strikes targeted three locations used by Kataib Hezbollah and “affiliated groups,” focusing primarily on “unmanned aerial drone activities,” Watson said.

The strikes on three targets located in Iraq were conducted at 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday (4:45 a.m. local time on Tuesday). According to US Central Command (CENTCOM), the strikes “likely killed a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants.” It is believed that no civilians were wounded or killed in the strikes, CENTCOM said.

The Associated Press reported that officials in Iraq confirmed that the US strikes killed one militant and injured another 18.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in a statement on Tuesday, condemned both the Kataib Hezbollah drone attack and the US retaliatory strikes and accused the US of committing a “hostile act” that infringed on Iraq’s sovereignty, according to the Associated Press.

Since October 18, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria have launched dozens of attacks on US forces in the region.

So far, the United States has only launched proportionate targeted strikes in response to the ongoing attacks, focusing on what Pentagon officials said are Iranian-linked weapons facilities and Iranian-backed militias.

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