The United States has confirmed conducting targeted strikes on three facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in Iraq.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described the strikes as “proportionate” and aimed at the “Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups.”
The precision strikes were a direct response to recent attacks on US and coalition allies in Iraq and Syria.
Last week, a missile attack on an airbase in western Iraq resulted in injuries to several US military personnel, who are currently undergoing evaluation for traumatic brain injuries.
The Al Asad airbase, hosting American troops, was targeted by an Iran-backed militia using ballistic missiles and rockets, with the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claiming responsibility.
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy notes that this group, emerging in late 2023, comprises various Iran-affiliated armed groups operating in Iraq and has claimed multiple attacks against US forces in recent weeks.
Defense Secretary Austin commended the professionalism of US military personnel in planning and executing the strikes, emphasizing their commitment to dismantling and degrading the Islamic State group (ISIS).
He asserted that necessary action would be taken to defend American interests, with a call for the groups and their Iranian sponsors to cease attacks.
The strikes, conducted at 00:15 local time, targeted Kataib Hezbollah’s headquarters, storage, and training locations for rocket, missile, and one-way attack UAV capabilities, according to the US military’s Central Command (CentCom).
Specific details about the locations of the targeted militia facilities in Iraq were not provided.
The recent attack on Al Asad airbase followed a US drone strike in Baghdad earlier this month, resulting in the death of a pro-Iran militia leader.
US forces in Iraq and Syria have faced numerous attacks from Iran-aligned militants since the Israel-Gaza war began in October.
CentCom reported that additional strikes were carried out against Houthi anti-ship missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, aimed at the southern Red Sea.
The US forces deemed these missiles an imminent threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region, justifying the strikes in self-defense.
Amidst these developments, the Iranian military conducted multiple missile strikes over the last week, targeting locations in Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan.
Iran accused Israel of an airstrike in Damascus, claiming the lives of five senior members of Iran’s security forces.
The situation reflects an escalating series of events involving the US, Iran, and affiliated militia groups, prompting concerns over regional stability.