WASHINGTON — The U.S. launched airstrikes Thursday in Iraq, targeting the Iranian-backed Shia militia members believed responsible for the rocket attack that killed and wounded American and British troops at a base north of Baghdad, the Pentagon said.
U.S. officials said multiple strikes by U.S. fighter jets hit five locations and mainly targeted Kataib Hezbollah weapons facilities inside Iraq. A Defense Department statement said the strikes targeted five weapons storage facilities “to significantly degrade their ability to conduct future attacks.”
The strikes marked a rapid escalation in tensions with Tehran and its proxy groups in Iraq, just two months after Iran carried out a massive ballistic missile attack against American troops at a base in Iraq.
They came just hours after top U.S. defense leaders threatened retaliation for the Wednesday rocket attack, making clear that they knew who did it and that the attackers would be held accountable. Military News
“These strikes were defensive, proportional, & in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups who continue to attack bases hosting OIR coalition forces,” she said, using an acronym for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition helping Iraqi and Syrian forces fight the Islamic State group.
The American strikes hit sites south of Baghdad in the areas of Jurf al-Nasr, Musayib, Najaf and Alexandria, the Iraqi government’s security media cell said on social media.
The sites were bases of the Popular Mobilization Forces — an umbrella organization militia groups that form part of the Iraqi security forces — and the Emergency Response Division and 19th Army commandos, it said. Stars and Stripes
With the “virus” consuming news agencies the attacks in Iran are getting very little attention to the American people. We must never forget that our brothers and sisters in uniform are laced up and still engaging our enemies globally and some are paying the ultimate cost. Till Valhalla Brothers
The Pentagon identified the service members as Army Spc. Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias, 27, of Hanford, Calif., and Air Force Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts, 28, of Owasso, Okla.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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