The U.S. military initiated an aerial assault on multiple locations in Iraq and Syria that were used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The operation, in response to a drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan, marked the beginning of a planned, phased retaliation, as communicated by President Joe Biden and other U.S. leaders.
President Biden stated, “This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces. Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing.”
The extensive airstrikes targeted over 85 locations at seven sites, including command centers, intelligence facilities, rocket and missile sites, and drone and ammunition storage areas. These locations were linked to the Iranian-backed militias or the IRGC’s Quds Force. The strikes utilized more than 125 precision munitions delivered by various aircraft, including long-range bombers.
The operation occurred shortly after the remains of the three Army Reserve soldiers killed in Jordan were returned to the U.S. The U.S. strikes did not directly target Iran or senior leaders of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force within Iran’s borders, aiming to prevent further escalation. Iran has denied involvement in the Jordan attack.
Despite statements from Kataeb Hezbollah suspending attacks on U.S. troops, the U.S. actions proceeded, and it remains uncertain how militia members will respond or whether they will go into hiding.
The U.S. has attributed the attack in Jordan to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iran-backed militias, without specifying a particular group. Some of these militias have posed threats to U.S. bases for years, with increased attacks following Israel’s conflict with Hamas.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “This is a dangerous moment in the Middle East,” and pledged to take necessary actions to defend U.S. interests.
As of Tuesday, Iran-backed militia groups had launched 166 attacks on U.S. military installations since October, including 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria, and one in Jordan. The U.S. has reinforced defenses at the attacked Jordanian base.
The article also mentions additional developments, including new sanctions on firms in Iran and Hong Kong for assisting Iran in procuring technology for ballistic weapons and drones. The U.S. imposed sanctions on six Iranian officials for alleged cyber activities against critical infrastructure.