President Joe Biden on Thursday launched military airstrikes against two Iranian-backed militias in Syria in retaliation for a recent spate of aggressions, including a rocket attack in Iraq last week that injured US troops and killed a Filipino contractor.
In the strike, Biden’s first known military action since taking office, the US hit seven targets with seven bombs used by the groups Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada to smuggle weapons. As of now, it’s unclear if anyone was hurt or killed, though US officials expect about “a handful of people” may have died, the Washington Post reported.
Politico reported Biden chose the “middle” option presented to him. The other plans remain unknown.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about sensitive discussions, told me the administration’s thinking behind the airstrikes was that it needed to “send a message that the US will not turn a blind eye to attacks on our forces by Iranian-sponsored militias.”
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the president ordered the “proportionate military response” to send “an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”