President Biden Orders Strikes on Militia Targets in Iraq

President Biden takes action in response to attack on U.S. service members
White House

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President Biden takes action in response to attack on U.S. service members

Early Christmas morning, three U.S. service members were wounded, one critically, in an attack on Erbil Air Base in Iraq, attributed to a militia group backed by Iran. In response, President Biden ordered strikes on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups, which the U.S. has linked to Iran.

National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson stated that the strikes were directed against locations focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities, following the militia’s claim of responsibility for the initial attack.

President Biden was immediately briefed on the attack and subsequently ordered the Department of Defense to prepare response options. These options were presented to the President during a call with Secretary of Defense Austin and members of his national security team.

In a statement, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the strikes “necessary and proportionate,” emphasizing that they were intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iran-aligned militia groups directly responsible. Austin reiterated the President’s commitment to defending U.S. troops and interests, stating, “There is no higher priority.”

While the U.S. does not seek to escalate the conflict in the region, both President Biden and Secretary Austin have emphasized the country’s preparedness to take further necessary measures to protect American personnel and facilities.

The Biden administration’s actions come amidst heightened tensions in the region, with ongoing conflict in Gaza and increased military actions by militia groups backed by Iran.