WASHINGTON – The United States launched three air strikes early Monday morning in Iraq and Syria against weapons caches used by Iran-backed militias who have carried out armed drone strikes against locations where the American military is located in recent weeks the Pentagon on Sunday with.
“On orders from President Biden, US forces launched precision air defensive strikes tonight against facilities used by Iran-backed militias in the Iraqi-Syrian border region,” Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said in a statement.
Kirby said the facilities hit were used by Iran-backed militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, to carry out drone strikes against American locations.
The strikes were the second time President Biden ordered the use of force in the region. The United States carried out air strikes in eastern Syria in late February against buildings that the Pentagon said were Iran-backed militias responsible for recent attacks on American and allied personnel in Iraq.
The United States is grappling with a rapidly evolving threat from Iranian proxies in Iraq after militias specializing in the use of more complex weapons, including armed drones, hit some of the most sensitive American targets in attacks that bypass the US defense.
At least five times since April, these militias have deployed small, explosive-laden drones that ricochet bombs on targets during nighttime attacks on Iraqi bases – including those used by the CIA and US special forces, according to American officials.
Iran, weakened by years of tough economic sanctions, is using its proxy militias in Iraq to increase pressure on the United States and other world powers to negotiate easing these sanctions as part of a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal. Iraqi and American officials say Iran developed the drone strikes to minimize the number of casualties in hopes of avoiding US retaliation.