US air strikes in Iraq and Syria target Iran-sponsored civilian army


WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) – The us said on Sunday it administered another round of airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, this point in response to drone attacks by the militia against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.

In a statement, the U.S. military said it targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq. It didn’t disclose whether it believed anyone was killed or injured but officials said assessments were ongoing.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran during a statement named four members of the Kataib Sayyed al-Shuhada faction they said were killed within the attack on the Syria-Iraq border. They vowed to retaliate.

The strikes came at the direction of President Joe Biden, the second time he has ordered retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militia since taking office five months ago. Biden last ordered limited strikes in Syria in February, that point in response to rocket attacks in Iraq.

“As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to guard U.S. personnel,” the Pentagon said during a statement.

The strikes came whilst Biden’s administration is looking to potentially revive a 2015 nuclear affect Iran. the choice to retaliate appears to point out how Biden aims to compartmentalize such defensive strikes, while simultaneously engaging Tehran in diplomacy.

Biden’s critics say Iran can’t be trusted and point to the drone attacks as further evidence that Iran and its proxies will never accept a U.S. military presence in Iraq or Syria.

Biden and therefore the White House declined to discuss the strikes on Sunday. But Biden will meet Israel’s outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House on Monday for a broad discussion which will include Iran and U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. read more Those efforts have raised serious concerns in Israel, Iran’s arch-foe.

U.S. officials believe Iran is behind a ramp-up in increasingly sophisticated drone attacks and periodic rocket fire against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, where the U.S. military has been helping Baghdad combat the remnants of the Islamic State.

Two U.S. officials, chatting with Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Iran-backed militias administered a minimum of five drone attacks against facilities employed by U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq since April.

The Pentagon said the facilities targeted were employed by Iran-backed militia including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

One of the facilities targeted was wont to launch and recover the drones, a defense official said.

The U.S. military administered strikes with F-15 and F-16 aircraft, officials said, adding the pilots made it back from the mission safely.

“We assess each strike hit the intended targets,” one among the officials told Reuters.

Iraq’s government is struggling to affect militias ideologically aligned with Iran which are accused of rocket fire against U.S. forces and of involvement in killing peaceful pro-democracy activists.

Earlier in June, Iraq released Iran-aligned militia commander Qasim Muslih, who was arrested in May on terrorism-related charges, after authorities found insufficient evidence against him.

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