Washington: The US military carried out strikes on three sites used by Iran-backed forces in Iraq on Monday after an attack wounded American personnel earlier in the day, defence secretary Lloyd Austin said. The strikes were carried out after President Joe Biden ordered retaliatory action against Iranian-backed militia groups after three US service members were injured in a drone attack in Northern Iraq.
“US military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataeb Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq,” Austin said in a statement.
“These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataeb Hezbollah and affiliated groups on Arbil Air Base earlier today,” he said.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said one of the US 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.
Biden, who is spending Christmas at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, was briefed on the attack on Monday and ordered the Pentagon to prepare response options.
Lloyd Austin and national security team quickly drew up plans and presented him with options in a call and Biden directed strikes against three locations utilized by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups.