The US retaliated against pro-Iranian militias

The US military airstrikes three locations of pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, responding to a UAV attack that injured a number of soldiers in this country.

“US forces deployed necessary and proportionate air strikes against three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced on December 25.

The US military said the airstrike likely killed many members of the Kataib Hezbollah group and destroyed some infrastructure. According to a security source in Iraq, at least one person was killed and 24 injured in the attack by US forces.

Secretary Austin said these precision attacks were retaliation for “a series of raids targeting US forces in Iraq and Syria”, including an attack by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) targeting the Erbil air base in northern Iraq. Kataib Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed Islamic militia group operating in Iraq.

According to Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the US National Security Council, three US soldiers at the Erbil base were injured in the UAV attack, including one critically. US President Joe Biden was informed about the raid, then called Secretary Austin and other national security officials and ordered a response.

US defense officials announced that US forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked 103 times since October 17, mostly by pro-Iranian militias. These raids were aimed at protesting US support for Israel‘s campaign to attack the Gaza Strip in retaliation against Hamas.

The US is deploying about 2,500 troops in Iraq and about 900 troops in Syria. The risk of attacks targeting US forces increases as the Pentagon deploys more weapons, combat vehicles and soldiers to the Middle East.