US soldier injured in Iraq attack, US military retaliates

U.S. forces responding to an attack that injured a small number of U.S. service members in Iraq over the weekend attacked three sites there used by Iranian-backed militias, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the operation was conducted at the direction of President Biden and was carried out “in direct response to a series of escalating attacks” on U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria, targeting Kataib Hezbollah. He said he was targeted. The militia is active in both countries and has claimed numerous attacks against Americans.

“The President and I will not hesitate to take the necessary actions to protect their interests and ours,” Austin said. “We have no intention of escalating the conflict in the region. We are ready to take further steps to protect our people and facilities. , we call on you to stop these attacks immediately.”

The airstrike, which occurred early Wednesday morning local time, was the latest in a series of periodic military operations as militias seek to expel U.S. military personnel from Iraq and Syria. The militia is part of a broader network that receives training and weapons from Iran and has called for violence in response to Israeli military operations against Hamas, another group backed by Tehran.

On Saturday, insurgents fired a number of ballistic missiles at Ain al-Asad Air Base, an Iraqi facility where U.S. troops are stationed. Officials said “the majority” of the missiles were intercepted by U.S. air defense systems at the base, but some did reach the base.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder announced early Tuesday that four U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries but had returned to duty.

The announcement was made by the U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations across the Middle East. statement The retaliatory strikes targeted “headquarters, storage and training sites” for rockets, missiles and unmanned attack drones.

The statement did not specify how the strike was carried out. Recent military operations by the US military in Iraq have been carried out primarily by fighter jets.

There have been at least 151 attacks targeting U.S. military locations in Iraq and Syria since October, according to Pentagon data. Ryder said on Tuesday that American authorities were investigating reports of a new attack on al-Assad.

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