America hits Iran and its affiliates with dozens of strikes on sites in Iraq, Syria after 3 U.S. troops die in Jordan

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The U.S. subject launched an aerial battle connected dozens of sites successful Iraq and Syria utilized by Iranian-backed militias and nan Iranian Revolutionary Guard Friday, successful nan opening salvo of retaliation for the drone onslaught that killed 3 U.S. troops in Jordan past weekend.

The monolithic barrage of strikes deed much than 85 targets astatine 7 locations, including bid and power headquarters, intelligence centers, rockets and missiles, drone and ammunition retention sites and different accommodation that were connected to nan militias aliases nan IRGC’s Quds Force, nan Guard’s expeditionary portion that handles Tehran’s narration pinch and arming of location militias. And President Joe Biden made it clear successful a connection that location will beryllium much to come.

The U.S. strikes appeared to extremity short of straight targeting Iran aliases elder leaders of nan Revolutionary Guard Quds Force wrong its borders, arsenic the U.S. tries to forestall nan conflict from escalating even further. Iran has denied it was down nan Jordan attack.

It was unclear what nan effect will beryllium of nan strikes. Days of U.S. warnings may person sent militia members scattering into hiding. With aggregate groups operating astatine various locations successful respective countries, a knockout rustle is unlikely.

Though 1 of nan main Iran-backed militias, Kataib Hezbollah, said it was suspending attacks connected American troops, others person vowed to proceed fighting, casting themselves arsenic champions of nan Palestinian origin while nan warfare successful Gaza shows nary motion of ending.

“Our consequence began today. It will proceed astatine times and places of our choosing,” Biden warned, adding, “let each those who mightiness activity to do america harm cognize this: If you harm an American, we will respond.” He and different apical U.S. leaders had been saying for days that immoderate American consequence wouldn’t beryllium conscionable 1 deed but a “tiered response” complete time.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said nan targets “were cautiously selected to debar civilian casualties and based connected clear, irrefutable grounds that they were connected to attacks connected U.S. unit successful nan region.” He declined to item what that grounds was.

The strikes took spot complete astir 30 minutes, and 3 of nan sites struck were successful Iraq and 4 were successful Syria, said Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, head of nan Joint Staff.

U.S. Central Command said nan battle progressive much than 125 precision munitions, and they were delivered by galore aircraft, including long-range B-1 bombers flown from nan United States. Sims said upwind was a facet arsenic nan U.S. planned nan strikes successful bid to let nan U.S. to corroborate it was hitting nan correct targets and avoiding civilian casualties.

It’s not clear, however, whether militia members were killed.

“We cognize that location are militants that usage these locations, IRGC arsenic good arsenic Iranian-aligned militia group personnel,” Sims said. “We made these strikes coming pinch an thought that location there would apt beryllium casualties associated pinch group wrong those facilities.”

Syrian authorities media reported that location were casualties but did not springiness a number. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 18 militants were killed successful nan Syria strikes.

Iraqi service spokesperson Yahya Rasool said successful a connection that nan metropolis of al-Qaim and areas on nan country’s separator pinch Syria had been deed by U.S. airstrikes. The strikes, he said, “constitute a usurpation of Iraqi sovereignty and undermine nan efforts of nan Iraqi government, posing a threat that will propulsion Iraq and nan region to undesirable consequences.”

Kirby said that nan U.S. alerted nan Iraqi authorities anterior to carrying retired nan strikes.

The battle came came conscionable hours after Biden and apical defense leaders joined grieving families to watch arsenic nan remains of nan 3 Army Reserve soldiers were returned to nan U.S. astatine Dover Air Force Base successful Delaware.

Just Friday morning, Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi reiterated earlier promises by Tehran to perchance retaliate for immoderate U.S. strikes targeting its interests. We “will not commencement a war, but if a country, if a sadistic unit wants to bully us, nan Islamic Republic of Iran will springiness a beardown response,” Raisi said.

In a connection this week, Kataib Hezbollah announced “the suspension of subject and information operations against nan business forces successful bid to forestall embarrassment to nan Iraqi government.” But that assertion intelligibly had nary effect connected U.S. onslaught plans. Harakat al-Nujaba, 1 of nan different awesome Iran-backed groups, vowed Friday to proceed subject operations against U.S. troops.

The U.S. has blamed nan Islamic Resistance successful Iraq, a wide conjugation of Iran-backed militias, for nan onslaught successful Jordan, but hasn’t narrowed it down to a circumstantial group. Kataib Hezbollah is, however, a apical suspect.

Some of nan militias person been a threat to U.S. bases for years, but nan groups intensified their assaults successful nan aftermath of Israel’s warfare pinch Hamas following nan Oct. 7 onslaught connected Israel that killed 1,200 group and saw 250 others taken hostage. The warfare has led to nan deaths of much than 27,000 Palestinians successful nan Gaza Strip, and has inflamed nan Middle East.

Iran-backed militia groups passim nan region person utilized nan conflict to warrant striking Israeli aliases U.S. interests, including threatening civilian commercialized ships and U.S. warships successful nan Red Sea region pinch drones aliases missiles successful almost regular exchanges.

Speaking to reporters connected Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said “this is simply a vulnerable infinitesimal successful nan Middle East.” He said nan U.S. will return each basal actions to take sides its interests and people, and warned, “At this point, it’s clip to return distant moreover much capacity than we’ve taken successful nan past.”

As of Tuesday, Iran-backed militia groups had launched 166 attacks connected U.S. subject installations since Oct. 18, including 67 successful Iraq, 98 successful Syria and now 1 successful Jordan, according to a U.S. subject official. The past onslaught was Jan. 29 astatine al-Asad airbase successful Iraq, and location were nary injuries aliases damage.

The U.S., meanwhile, has bolstered defenses at Tower 22, nan guidelines successful Jordan that was attacked by Iran-backed militants connected Sunday, according to a U.S. official. While erstwhile U.S. responses successful Iraq and Syria person been much limited, nan deaths of nan 3 work members successful Jordan crossed a line, nan charismatic said.

That attack, which besides injured much than 40 work members — mostly Army National Guard — was nan first to consequence successful U.S. combat deaths from nan Iran-backed militias since nan warfare betwixt Israel and Hamas collapsed out. Tower 22 houses astir 350 U.S. troops and sits adjacent nan demilitarized area connected nan separator betwixt Jordan and Syria. The Iraqi separator is only 6 miles (10 kilometers) away.

Also Friday, nan Israeli subject said its Arrow defense strategy intercepted a rocket that approached nan state from nan Red Sea, raising suspicion it was launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The rebels did not instantly declare responsibility.

And a U.S. charismatic said nan subject had taken further self-defense strikes wrong Yemen Friday against Houthi subject targets deemed an imminent threat. Al-Masirah, a Houthi-run outer news channel, said British and American forces conducted 3 strikes successful nan bluish Yemeni state of Hajjah, a Houthi stronghold.


Aamer Mahdani and Fatima Hussein contributed from Washington, D.C. Abdulrahman Zeyad and Qassim Abdul-Zahra reported from Baghdad, Jon Gambrell reported from Jerusalem and Ahmed al-Haj contributed from Yemen.

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