US air strikes attacked pro-Iranian militias in Iraq after these forces launched ballistic missiles at bases where US soldiers are stationed.

“Iranian-backed militia last night used short-range ballistic missiles to attack US and coalition forces at Al-Asad air base, injuring eight people and causing some minor infrastructure damage.”, Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder announced on November 21.

Mr. Ryder said that immediately after the raid, a US AC-130 attack conducted a “self-defense attack” against vehicles and Iran-backed militia groups. “This response resulted in the deaths of several enemy fighters,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

This is the first time the US has announced an attack on pro-Iranian militias in Iraq. Previously, the US three times airstrikes on the positions of pro-Iranian militias in Syria in response to attacks on its soldiers in the region.

The number of attacks targeting US forces in the Middle East increased after Hamas launched a campaign to raid Israeli territory on October 7. The Israeli army then launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip and launched a ground campaign against the area in response.

Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said US forces “have been attacked approximately 66 times since October 17”, including 32 in Iraq and 34 in Syria.

The attacks injured 62 US military personnel, not including the eight people injured in the most recent attack that Mr. Ryder mentioned on November 22.

According to Ms. Singh, members of pro-Iranian militia groups in Iraq were targeted because “AC-130 attacks can identify short-range ballistic missile launch points” and then track the vehicles carrying these people. This is the first time pro-Iranian militias have used ballistic missiles to attack US forces since October 17.

The US deployed about 2,500 soldiers in Iraq and 900 soldiers in Syria as part of the international coalition against self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) rebels. After IS was destroyed, the coalition said its role in Iraq was to advise and support local partners.