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‘Several killed’ as US airstrikes hit 85 targets in Iraq and Syria

‘Several killed’ as US airstrikes hit 85 targets in Iraq and Syria

The US military has launched an air assault on at least 85 targets in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias on Friday.

It marks the opening salvo of retaliation for the drone strike that killed three US troops in Jordan last weekend.

President Joe Biden and other top US leaders have been warning for days that the country would strike back at the militias, and made it clear that it would not be just one hit, but a “tiered response” over time.

The initial strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft were hitting command and control headquarters, ammunition storage and other facilities.

Middle East latest: US begins wave of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

They came just hours after Mr Biden and top defence leaders joined grieving families as the remains of the three Army Reserve soldiers were returned to the US during a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

It was unclear what the next steps will be, or whether the days of US warnings have sent militia members into hiding, making it more difficult for the US to detect and strike them.

President Biden joined the grieving families of those killed in Jordan

But it was evident that the recent statement released by Kataeb Hezbollah, one of the main Iran-backed militias, saying it was suspending attacks on American troops, had no impact on the administration’s plans to strike back.

The US strikes also appeared to stop short of directly targeting Iran or its Revolutionary Guard Quds force.

Iran has denied it was behind the Jordan strike.

Syrian State TV reported that “several” people had been killed and injured “as a result of the American aggression on a number of sites at the Badia and the Syrian-Iraqi border”.

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