U.S. Launches Airstrikes Targeting Iranian-Backed Militia Groups in Syria

The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday targeting Iranian-backed militia groups in the first known offensive military operation carried out by the Biden administration.

The Department of Defense said the strikes are a response to recent rocket attacks against Americans in Iraq, including one in which a civilian contractor working with American forces was killed and several U.S. service members were injured. Officials believe the Feb. 15 attack in Erbil, Iraq, was conducted by Shia militants.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby in a statement called the U.S. operation a “proportionate military response.”

Kirby said the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point in eastern Syria that is “used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.”

Kait’ib Hezbollah said in a statement criticizing the U.S. military action that one of its fighters was killed.

Earlier this week, it denied any involvement in the Erbil strike.

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SOURCE: NPR, Vanessa Romo