President Joe Biden authorized the precision air strikes, aimed at holding accountable those directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.President Biden was briefed on the attack and directed the Pentagon to prepare response options against those responsible, according to the White House National Security Council.
General Michael Erik Kurilla, head of US central command, said that the strikes were intended to degrade the militants’ ability to continue such attacks.The retaliatory strikes likely resulted in casualties among Kataib Hezbollah militants and the destruction of multiple facilities used by the group. The Pentagon did not disclose the identity of the critically wounded service member or provide detailed information about the injuries sustained.
The drone attack targeted a military base in northern Iraq used by US and anti-jihadist coalition forces. Yehia Rasool, the Iraqi prime minister’s spokesman for military affairs, confirmed the incident near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan. Shortly after the attack, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching a drone against another base near Harir, northeast of Arbil, also housing US and coalition forces.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq is a loosely affiliated formation of armed groups associated with the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition, integrated into Iraq’s regular armed forces.
The number of attacks on the US and its coalition has increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7. These attacks by militias on US troops can be seen as retaliation by the forces against the US support of Israel in the war.
(With inputs from agencies)