US launches retaliatory strikes on targets in Iraq, Syria

DOVER, DELAWARE - FEBRUARY 02: U.S. President Joe Biden attends the dignified transfer for fallen service members U.S. Army Sgt. William Rivers, Sgt. Breonna Moffett and Sgt. Kennedy Sanders at Dover Air Force Base on February 02, 2024 in Dover, Delaware. U.S. Army Sgt. William Rivers, Sgt. Breonna Moffett and Sgt. Kennedy Sanders were killed in addition to 40 others troops were injured during a drone strike in Jordan. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The United States has started conducting airstrikes in retaliation for last weekend’s deadly drone attack in Jordan.

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Update 5:56 p.m. EST Feb. 2: U.S. officials said that there was “clear, irrefutable evidence” that the targets were connected to the attacks on Americans, according to The Associated Press. Aircraft belonging to the U.S. has also been moved out of harm’s way.

Original story: A U.S. Defense Department official said, according to The New York Times, that the U.S. on Friday launched a series of strikes against Iran-backed militants on targets in Iraq and Syria.

The strikes come after a drone strike killed three U.S. soldiers last weekend in Jordan, The Associated Press reported. President Joe Biden on Tuesday vowed to retaliate, according to the Times.

The strikes have reportedly led to an escalation of the war in the Middle East, the Times reported. That escalation was something that the Biden administration was trying to avoid.

“This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces, Biden said in a statement from the White House. “Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing. The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

Intelligence officials believe an umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq is responsible for the drone attack.

“We believe that the attack in Jordan was planned, resourced and facilitated by an umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq which contains multiple groups, including (the Iran-backed militia group) Kataib Hezbollah,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday during a news conference.

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