President Biden Orders Airstrikes on Iranian-Linked Militias Following Injury of Three U.S. Soldiers in Drone Attack

Joe Biden directs airstrikes against Iranian-backed groups after three US troops wounded in attack
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden directed airstrikes in Iraq after three United States service members were wounded by a one-way attack drone early Monday morning at the Erbil Air Base.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement that Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and other affiliated groups took credit for the attack on Christmas Day. One of the U.S. troops suffered critical injuries.

After Biden was briefed on the situation and injuries, he ordered the Department of Defense to arrange retaliation options. The president ultimately directed strikes against three locations used by Kataib Hezbollah and associated groups “focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities,” Watson said.

The response was carried out at approximately 4:45 a.m. in Iraq, nearly 12 hours after U.S. personnel were injured. Iraqi officials said the strikes killed one militant and injured 18.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a separate statement that the strikes were “intended to disrupt and degrade capabilities” of the groups responsible.

The airstrikes likely killed “a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants,” according to a statement from U.S. Central Command.

Biden issued a warning to Iran last month that the U.S. would respond if his nation attacked American troops amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

“These strikes are intended to hold accountable those elements directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria and degrade their ability to continue attacks,” Army Gen. Erik Kurilla, the chief of U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.

The Pentagon has taken several steps to contain the war in Gaza after Hamas launched attacks in Israel Oct. 7. A key concern has been militant groups backed by Iran that operate in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Houthi rebels it backs in Yemen.

Militants in Syria and Iraq have intensified their rocket attacks on bases with U.S. troops. Since Oct. 7, there have been about 80 such attacks, and the Pentagon has launched airstrikes on sites that store and fire rockets. In one case, an Air Force AC-130 gunship responded to an ongoing attack by firing on militants.

In addition, the Pentagon has assembled a coalition to defense shipping in the Red Sea after several drone attacks on commercial vessels by Houthi rebels.

“And so again, you know, all roads lead to Iran when it comes to sponsoring these attacks,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said earlier this month.

Over the weekend, Houthi rebels fired drones and missiles at ships, including the USS Laboon. The Laboon, a guided-missile destroyer, was patrolling the Red Sea as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian, according to Central Command. It shot down four drones aimed at it.

Houthis militants have launched 15 attacks on commercial shipping since Oct. 17.

Contributing: Joey Garrison, Francesca Chambers, USA TODAY; Associated Press

Afonso Alcântara

CEO of Walerts is an expert in Digital Marketing and Artificial Intelligence. CEO of Wproo, an international Web Software Development company.

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