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International News: U.S. makes retaliatory airstrikes against Iran-backed militia after servicemen injured

Posted: Tuesday, December 26, 2023. 6:56 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The United States has launched retaliatory strikes against an Iran-affiliated terrorist group in Iraq after said group attacked an American military base on Christmas morning, according to media reports.

The Associated Press (AP) says U.S. President Joe Biden ordered the Pentagon and his top national security aides to prepare response options to the attack on an air base used by American troops in Erbil. After consultations between national security adviser Jake Sullivan, his deputy Jon Finer, Gen. CQ Brown, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as well as top aides at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, Biden opted to target three locations used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups, and the attack was carried out early Tuesday morning.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said one of the U.S. troops suffered critical injuries in the attack that occurred earlier Monday. The Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups, under an umbrella of Iranian-backed militants, claimed credit for the attack that utilized a one-way attack drone.

According to U.S. Central Command, the retaliatory strikes on the three sites, “destroyed the targeted facilities and likely killed a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants.”

The latest attack on U.S. troops follows months of escalating threats and actions against American forces in the region since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel that sparked the devastating war in Gaza.

The dangerous back-and-forth strikes have escalated since Iranian-backed militant groups under the umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq and Syria began striking U.S. facilities on October 17, the date that a blast at a hospital in Gaza killed hundreds. Iranian-backed militias have carried out dozens of attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since the start of the Israel-Hamas war more than two months ago.

The U.S. has also blamed Iran, which has funded and trained Hamas, for attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants against commercial and military vessels through a critical shipping choke point in the Red Sea.

The Biden administration has sought to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from spiraling into a wider regional conflict that either opens up new fronts of Israeli fighting or that draws the U.S. in directly. The U.S. has thousands of troops in Iraq training Iraqi forces and combating remnants of the Islamic State group, and hundreds in Syria, mostly on the counter-IS mission. They have come under dozens of attacks, though as yet none fatal, since the war began on October 7, with the U.S. attributing responsibility to Iran-backed groups.


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