US Military Launches Airstrikes against Targets on Iraq-Syria Border
Three facilities hit in operation to target Iran's militia
The United States military has launched a series of airstrikes against Iran-backed militias on the Iraq-Syria border, according to reports.
The "precision" strikes had been launched at the behest of Democrat Joe Biden on Sunday evening, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement.
Two targets were struck in Syria, with a third also hit in Iraq.
Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), had been targeted, Kirby added.
US Air Force F-15 and F-16 jets were used to carry out the strikes and safely returned to base without incident afterward.
Kirby said the targets had been chosen because they had previously launched drone strikes against US personnel and bases in Iraq using rudimentary unmanned aerial vehicles.
It is unclear if anyone was injured or killed in those strikes, although a military source told Fox News "many casualties" were expected because the strikes took place at a time of day when the targets were particularly active.
According to Kirby, the facilities are used by several Iran-backed militia groups engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.
Pelosi on US airstrikes on facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups near Iraq-Syria border. Says this is a “proportional response to a serious and specific threat. The Iran-backed militias utilizing these facilities have been engaged in attacks threatening US servicembrs”— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 28, 2021
"As demonstrated by this evening's strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel," Kirby added.
"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.
"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."
A U.S. defense official with knowledge of the strikes told Fox News that US Air Force F-15s and F-16s were used in the operation.
The strikes took place at approximately 6 p.m. Eastern Time, or 1 a.m. local time.
At least one facility used by Iran’s militia forces to launch and recover drones was destroyed, the official added.
Recent strikes by the crude drones have targeted Americans in Baghdad and Erbil in northern Iraq.
The official said he does not expect "a lot of casualties" from the Iranian-backed forces because of the time of the strike.
All U.S. jets returned to base without a problem, the official added.
Sunday's airstrikes are the latest operation carried out against Iranian-backed military groups, following Biden's first known military action in February, when an airstrike targeted a compound in Syria operated by Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al Shuhada.