US Strikes "Iranian-Backed Militant" Site In Syria: Pentagon

US Strikes

Officials have noted that in the past, Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups have been responsible for numerous rocket attacks that targeted USA personnel or facilities in Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a visit by US President Joe Biden to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, February 10, 2021.

Officials have noted that in the past, Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups have been responsible for numerous rocket attacks that targeted U.S. personnel or facilities in Iraq.

It called the action a "proportionate military response" that was taken "together with diplomatic measures", including consulting coalition partners. The operation sends an unambiguous message; President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel.

The strike was said to be conducted in retaliation for the 15 February rocket attack on the Erbil Air Base in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Libertarian-leaning Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) tweeted in response to the airstrikes, " @POTUS dragging the USA into Syria's civil war is a huge mistake.

Under the Trump administration, the escalatory back-and-forth stoked tensions, culminating in the U.S. killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani and a retaliatory Iranian ballistic missile attack against United States forces in Iraq previous year.

The rocket attacks against U.S. positions in Iraq were carried out as Washington and Tehran are looking for a way to return to the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by former United States president Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Biden discussed the recent attacks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and agreed that those responsible "must be held fully to account", the White House said in a statement.

"We're confident in the target we went after".

Renewed rocket attacks on United States targets in Iraq show Iran-aligned factions are heaping pressure on the government while Tehran may be seeking leverage over America's new administration, analysts say. Recently two rockets fell near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone.

Two former Trump administration officials told CBS News that the al Bukamal area has been a target of scores of Israeli strikes in recent months because it is serves as a transhipment point for the Iranian-backed Shiite militias in both Syria and Iraq.

He also sees the attacks as a message sent from Tehran to Washington, as both adversaries stand firm on their position on the 2015 deal to shape Iran's nuclear program.

Iraqi security forces inspect damage after a rocket attack earlier this month.

'Let's let the investigations complete and conclude, and then when we have more to say, we will'.

"The renewed attacks could be an attempt by those close to Iran to increase Tehran's leverage in light of looming talks with the US", Bassiri said.

Trump had said the death of a US contractor would be a red line and provoke USA escalation in Iraq.

It followed three rocket attacks on facilities in Iraq used by U.S. and coalition forces fighting the Islamic State group.

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