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U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

WASHINGTON (Axios): The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes “in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

What they’re saying: “”The proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with Coalition partners,” Kirby said.

“The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel.”

“At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters on later on Thursday that officials are “confident in the target we went after, we know what we hit,” per CNN.

“We’re confident that target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes.”

The big picture: Kirby said the strikes destroyed facilities at a border control point used by multiple militia groups that are backed by Iran.

The strike was in response to at least three rocket attacks that were launched against U.S. targets in Iraq, one of which killed a non-U.S. contractor and wounded nine additional people, including five Americans, according to Politico.

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