US Regional Command Centcom said on Friday that the US military said it had struck more than 85 targets from the air, including command centers, intelligence bases and weapons depots used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and allied militias.
“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” US President Biden said Friday. The United States is not seeking conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, he stressed. “But to all those who wish to harm us, know this: You harm an American. If you do, we will respond.”
The airstrikes lasted for 30 minutes
According to the US government, in the American retaliatory strike, the military targeted seven key positions – three of them in Iraq and four in Syria. The airstrikes lasted about 30 minutes, National Security Council communications director John Kirby said.
A large number of aircraft were involved in the operation – including B-1 strategic bombers sent from the United States. Targets were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties. Kirby said there was no word yet on casualties among the militants.
Iraq: 16 dot
According to Baghdad, the attacks in western Iraq killed 16 people, including civilians. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani rejected “false allegations” of “coordination” with Washington before the bombings.
Sudani said the attacks were condemned as a “new aggression against Iraqi sovereignty”. The presence of the US-led military coalition in the region “threats security and stability in Iraq and serves as a justification for Iraq's involvement in regional and international conflicts.”
Syria: US occupation 'cannot continue'
It said “several civilians and soldiers were killed” and others wounded from Syria. The army said there had been “significant damage”. Addressing Washington, the armed forces said “the occupation of parts of Syria by US forces cannot continue”. At least 29 members of pro-Iran militias have been killed in Syria, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They are said to have monitored the affected positions.
The army is committed to “liberating the entire Syrian territory from terrorism and occupation”. About 900 US military personnel and about 2,500 in Iraq are still stationed in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
Iran condemned the attacks
Iran condemned the US airstrikes as a “violation of the territorial integrity” of Iraq and Syria. State Department spokesman Nasser Khanani called it “another bold and strategic mistake” by the US. He warned of further tension and instability in the Middle East region.
Condemning the US missile attacks as a sign of Washington's aggressive foreign policy, Russia has criticized the UN. It intends to appeal to the Security Council. “We are trying to reach a quick discussion on the situation that has arisen in the UN Security Council,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to a ministry statement. According to diplomatic sources, the UN was invited by Russia.
Biden: “Pro-Iran Group”
Last Sunday, a drone attack by Iranian-backed militias in Jordan near the Syrian border killed three American soldiers and wounded several others. The bodies of three American soldiers killed in Jordan were returned to the United States on Friday, shortly before the retaliatory attacks. Biden paid his respects at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Biden blamed “extremist, Iran-backed militant groups” for the attack and threatened to retaliate. On Wednesday, the US government officially attributed the attack to a group known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which had earlier claimed responsibility for the attack.
The US military is retaliating
The US military launched its first offensives in Syria and Iraq. They must retaliate for the killing of three American soldiers in a drone strike in Jordan. The attack on American soldiers has again raised tensions in the region.
The “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” is a sort of umbrella group for pro-Iranian militias in Iraq that have been operating under this general name since the October 7 terrorist acts of Islamist Hamas in Israel.
This includes the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia. They are among the most powerful militias in Iraq and demand the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Northeastern Jordan, where the deadly attack on American soldiers took place, borders both Syria and Iraq.
The militia said it had attacked an air force base
Militants from the militant group “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” claimed to have attacked al-Harir air base in northern Iraq on Saturday morning. US soldiers are stationed at the base. There are currently no reports of casualties or damage.