US launches airstrikes on facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups on the Iraq-Syria border in response to drone attacks

Daily Mail:

The United States has launched what it says are defensive airstrikes against Iran-backed militias along the Iraq-Syria border.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the ‘precision’ strikes had been launched on Sunday evening.

Kirby said the targets had been chosen because they had previously launched drone strikes against US personnel and bases in Iraq.  

It is unclear if anyone was injured or killed in those strikes.

Kirby said: ‘At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. 

‘The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. 

‘Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. 

Two targets were attacked in Syria, with a third also bombed in Iraq. Kirby added that multiple Iran-backed milita groups including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) had been targeted.

Kirby’s statement continued: ‘Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.

‘As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks. 

‘We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS. The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.

‘As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq.’ 

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