President Joe Biden on Sunday ordered airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militias in near the Iraq-Syria border, CNN reports.
The Pentagon said in a statement on Sunday that the airstrikes were a response to unmanned drone attacks targeting US personnel in Iraq.
"The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
"As demonstrated by this evening's strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks," he added.
Militia vows retaliation:
The Kataib Hezbollah militia group said that four of its fighters were killed in the airstrikes and vowed to retaliate.
"This crime will not go unpunished, the decision for revenge has been taken, and the American enemy will see death with his own eyes. An eye for an eye and what is coming is severe," the group said on its Telegram page.
Middle East leaders condemn:
Iraqi military spokesman Yahya Rasool condemned the US airstrike, calling it a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security in accordance with all international conventions."
Iran said that the airstrikes threaten to destabilize security in the region.
"Our advice to the new ( U.S) administration is that instead of making crisis and creating problems for the people in the region, take corrective actions and let regional people determine their destiny," said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.