The United States has responded to the assassination of its soldiers in Jordan by bombing dozens of targets in Iraq and Syria utilised by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, news agency PTI reported. President Joe Biden and other top US authorities have warned for days that America would strike back against the militias, emphasising that it would be a “tiered response” over time rather than a single assault.
“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden stated in a statement issued after the US started carrying out such attacks on Friday.
Biden announced on Sunday that three American soldiers were murdered in Jordan by a drone launched by extremist organisations sponsored by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Earlier, he attended the solemn homecoming of these heroic Americans to Dover Air Force Base. He also spoke to each of their families.
“This afternoon, at my direction, US military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack US forces. Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” Biden was quoted by PTI in its report.
According to US Central Command, airstrikes targeting the IRGC Quds Force and allied militia groups were launched in Iraq and Syria around 4:00 p.m. EST (2.30 a.m. IST).
US military forces hit more than 85 sites with various aircraft, including long-range bombers flown from the United States. The airstrikes used about 125 precision bombs.
The facilities targeted included command and control operations centres, intelligence centres, rocket and missile storage, unmanned aerial vehicle storage, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks on US and Coalition forces, according to CENTCOM.
Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that these attacks targeted seven installations used by the IRGC and allied militias to attack US soldiers.
“This is the start of our response. The President has directed additional actions to hold the IRGC and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on US and Coalition Forces,” he was quoted by PTI in its report.
“These will unfold at times and places of our choosing. We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces. We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests,” Austin said.
Iraq Slams US Strikes, Calls It ‘Violation Of Sovereignty’
Following US airstrikes aimed at militia positions in both Iraq and Syria, a spokesperson for the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces stated that the strikes come at a time when Iraq is “striving to ensure regional stability,” according to Al Jazeera, citing local outlet Iraqi News Agency (INA), news agency ANI reported.
“These strikes constitute a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, an undermining of the efforts of the Iraqi government, and a threat that will drag Iraq and the region into undesirable consequences, the consequences of which will be dire for security and stability in Iraq and the region,” INA quoted the spokesman as saying.
Meanwhile, Syrian state media blamed “US aggression” for the assaults, which they said targeted Syria’s desert areas and those near the Syrian-Iraq border, resulting in a number of deaths, according to Al Jazeera.
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