WASHINGTON – The United States launched air strikes in Syria Thursday targeting facilities used by Iranian-backed militia groups The Pentagon said the strikes were in retaliation for a missile strike in Iraq earlier this month, in which a civilian contractor was killed and a U was wounded S. Service member and other coalition forces

The airstrike was the first known military action by the Biden government, which in the first few weeks has reiterated its intention to focus more on China’s challenges, even if the threats in the Middle East persist

“This appropriate military response was carried out in conjunction with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners,” Pentagon lead spokesman John Kirby said at the strike announcement

“The operation sends a clear message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have deliberately acted to de-escalate the overall situation in Eastern Syria and Iraq”

Biden administration officials condemned the February 15 rocket strikes near the city of Irbil in the semi-autonomous Kurdish-led region of Iraq, but as recently as this week officials said they had not established with certainty who carried them out

Officials have found that Iran-backed Shiite militia groups have been responsible for numerous rocket attacks on U.S in the past Personnel or facilities in Iraq

Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, had said Tuesday that Iraq was in charge of investigating the February 15 attack

“At the moment we cannot give you a specific attribution as to who is behind these attacks, which groups, and I will not go into the tactical details of all weapons used here”Said Kirby,” Let’s get the research done and done, and when we have more to say we will “

A little-known Shiite militant group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam, Arabic for Guardians of Blood Brigade, took responsibility for the February 15 attack. A week later, a rocket attack appeared to be aimed at the U.S in Baghdad’s Green Zone Embassy grounds, but no one was injured

The frequency of attacks by Shiite militia groups against US. Targets in Iraq declined late last year, ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, though Iran is now pushing America to return to the 2015 Tehran nuclear deal

The US. Iran-backed groups under the previous Trump administration accused of carrying out the attacks Tensions mounted following a Washington-led drone attack that killed Iran’s top-level gene Qassem Soleimani and powerful Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last year Year

Trump had said the death of a US Contractor would be a red line and provoke US. Escalation in Iraq The assassination of a U in December 2019S A civilian contractor in a missile attack in Kirkuk sparked a fight on Iraqi soil that brought the country to the brink of proxy war.

US. The armed forces in Iraq were significantly reduced to 2500 employees and no longer take part in combat missions with Iraqi forces in ongoing operations against the Islamic state group

Syria

World News – US – US. Bombing sites in Syria used by Iranian-backed militias

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-bombs-facilities-syria-used-iran-backed-militia-n1258912