US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday targeted targets linked to the January attack on US troops in Jordan and were conducted to avoid civilian casualties, White House national security spokesman John Kirby was quoted as saying by media.
According to the Pentagon, American munitions hit what they were supposed to hit. Washington is calling Friday’s military operation the first phase of a response to last week’s deadly attack on its troops.
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“This afternoon, at my direction, US forces struck targets and facilities in Iraq and Syria that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and allied militias use to attack US troops. Our answer has begun. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” Biden said.
“We know that there are militants who use these places, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and members of militias allied to Iran. We conducted the strikes knowing that they would likely cause casualties at these facilities,” said Douglas Sims, chief of operations at the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to Reuters.
According to Sims, the US Air Force had timed the operations so that the weather was clear and the strikes could be carried out “with greater confidence” and accuracy, citing Lt. Gen. Reuters. It is not clear how many lives among the militia members were claimed by the strikes.
85 targets hit
According to the statement of the army, the American forces hit over 85 targets in seven places in eastern Syria and Iraq, namely the objects of the Quds forces falling under the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and armed groups close to them.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard-linked Tasnim news agency reported, according to The New York Times, that the headquarters of the Iraqi Hashd Shaabi militia, which has close ties to Iran, was also targeted. According to other Iranian sources, the Americans also struck the Iraqi Kataib Hezbollah group.
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It is Kataib Hezbollah, part of the wider group Islamic Resistance in Iraq, USAare suspected of a January drone attack in Jordan that claimed the lives of three American soldiers.
Neither the White House nor the Pentagon has specified what the next steps of American forces will be. President Joe Biden in his declarationstated that the US is not seeking conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but will respond to any successful attacks against Americans.
He also indicated that the American operation is not over. His spokesman, Kirby, said the strikes began on Friday and would continue for the next few days.
Some of the pro-Iranian militias in question have threatened US bases in the Middle East in previous years. However, they escalated their attacks against American personnel who remain in the area as part of an international anti-terrorist operation after the start of the war between Israel and the Hamas movement on October 7 last year.
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