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US retaliates for fatal drone attack; strikes at Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria

US retaliates for fatal drone attack; strikes at Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria
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Washington, Feb 3 (PTI) The United States has retaliated against the killing of its soldiers in Jordan by striking on a dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

President Joe Biden and other top US leaders had been warning for days that America would strike back at the militias, and they made it clear it wouldn’t be just one hit but a “tiered response” over time.

“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden said in a statement after the US started carrying out such strikes on Friday.

Biden said this past Sunday that three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Earlier in the day, he attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base. He also spoke with each of their families.

“This afternoon, at my direction, US military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack US forces. Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” Biden said.

According to US Central Command, at 4:00 pm EST (2.30 am IST) its forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against IRGC Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.

US military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from the United States. The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions.

The facilities that were struck included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against US and Coalition forces, the CENTCOM said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said these strikes were at seven facilities that IRGC and affiliated militias use to attack US forces.

“This is the start of our response. The President has directed additional actions to hold the IRGC and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on US and Coalition Forces,” he said.

“These will unfold at times and places of our choosing. We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces. We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests,” Austin said.


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