U.S. bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia




  • In US
  • 2021-02-26 01:12:32Z
  • By Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting facilities near the Iraqi border used by Iranian-backed militia groups. The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops.

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

"This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners," the Pentagon's chief spokesperson, John Kirby, said in announcing the strikes.

"The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in eastern Syria and Iraq."

Kirby said the U.S. airstrikes "destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iranian- backed militant groups."

Further details were not immediately available.

Biden administration officials condemned the Feb. 15 rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish-run region, but as recently as this week officials indicated they had not determined for certain who carried it out. Officials have noted that in the past, Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups have been responsible for numerous rocket attacks that targeted U.S. personnel or facilities in Iraq.

Kirby had said Tuesday that Iraq is in charge of investigating the Feb. 15 attack.

"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," Kirby said. "Let's let the investigations complete and conclude, and then when we have more to say, we will."

A little-known Shiite militant group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam, Arabic for Guardians of Blood Brigade, claimed responsibility for the Feb. 15 attack. A week later, a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone appeared to target the U.S. Embassy compound, but no one was hurt.

Iran this week said it has no links to the Guardians of Blood Brigade.

The frequency of attacks by Shiite militia groups against U.S. targets in Iraq diminished late last year ahead of President Joe Biden's inauguration, though now Iran is pressing America to return to Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. under the previous Trump administration blamed Iran-backed groups for carrying out the attacks. Tensions soared after a Washington-directed drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and powerful Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last year.

Trump had said the death of a U.S. contractor would be a red line and provoke U.S. escalation in Iraq. The December 2019 killing of a U.S. civilian contractor in a rocket attack in Kirkuk sparked a tit-for-tat fight on Iraqi soil that brought the country to the brink of a proxy war.

U.S. forces have been significantly reduced in Iraq to 2,500 personnel and no longer partake in combat missions with Iraqi forces in ongoing operations against the Islamic State group.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Iran state TV identifies man it says was behind blast at Natanz nuclear site
Iran state TV identifies man it says was behind blast at Natanz nuclear site

"Reza Karimi, the perpetrator of this sabotage... has been identified" by Iran's intelligence ministry, state TV said. It said the suspect had fled Iran...

Iran names suspect in Natanz attack, says he fled country
Iran names suspect in Natanz attack, says he fled country
  • World
  • 2021-04-17 09:55:59Z

Iran named a suspect Saturday in the attack on its Natanz nuclear facility that damaged centrifuges there, saying he had fled the country "hours before" the ...

Iran identifies suspect behind blast at Natanz nuclear site
Iran identifies suspect behind blast at Natanz nuclear site
  • US
  • 2021-04-17 09:55:47Z

"Reza Karimi, the perpetrator of this sabotage... has been identified" by Iran's intelligence ministry, state TV said. It said the suspect had fled Iran...

Iran
Iran's hit spy thriller is first shot in election culture war
  • World
  • 2021-04-17 06:43:39Z

A culture war is heating up in Iran ahead of upcoming presidential elections with a popular television series and a hyped new social media platform becoming ...

As Biden improves with vets, Afghanistan plan a plus to some
As Biden improves with vets, Afghanistan plan a plus to some

Patrick Proctor Brown says the war in Afghanistan was lost within a year of its start. The suburban Milwaukee lawyer, who was an infantry captain in Iraq...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US