WASHINGTON- U.S. airstrikes aimed at bases used Iranian militant groups in Syria. The groups are alleged of attacking American and associated forces in northern Iraq the previous week; the Pentagon said late Thursday.
The bombings, the first approved by President Joe Biden, destroyed multiple targets used by the military. The Pentagon blames an airstrike on a base in northern Iraq that wounded the U.S. and allied forces killed a contractor.
“The operation sends an enigmatic message: President Biden will work to protect Coalition and American personnel,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in an interview. “At the same time, we have taken action in a deliberate manner that targets to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Iraq and Syria.”
“I’m certain in the target that we went after; we know what we hit,” Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, told the media flying with him from Wahington to California.
Speaking soon after the bombing, he added, “We’re certain that the target was being used by the same Shia militants that conducted the strikes”, which was referred to as a rocket attack in northern Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and a U.S. service member and other coalition personnel.
The action was recommended to Biden by Austin.
Austin said, “We said several times that we would respond on our timeline. We wanted to be sure that we had the right targets.”