WASHINGTON (Agencies): In response to a drone strike on a US garrison on the border of Jordan and Syria that killed three US service members and injured dozens more, US forces have conducted airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. The US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that the strikes hit forces of “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups,” according to a statement by the agency.

The strikes hit 85 targets and utilized more than 125 precision munitions from “numerous aircraft” including long-range bombers. The US blames Iran for the drone attack, arguing that Iran provided the weapons that the militant group used to carry out the attack. Iran has continually insisted that it does not control the groups, who say their attacks are in support of Palestinians in Gaza.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which encompasses multiple Iran-linked groups, claimed responsibility for the drone attack. According to the CENTCOM statement, the attacks hit “control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicle storage, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities,” of the militia groups “and their IRGC sponsors.”

Syrian state media described the attacks as “American aggression” and reported several casualties and injuries. Previously, Iran warned that it would respond to any attack on “Iran’s territory, or its interests or citizens abroad” with a “decisive response.”

On Thursday, it was reported that US President Joe Biden authorized attacks in Iraq and Syria, but there was no mention of attacks inside of Iranian territory. It has been speculated that the Biden administration hopes that will lessen the risk of a full-blown war between the two countries.

However, the attacks are certain to increase tensions and raise fears that Israel’s war in Gaza, now over three months old, will spread across the Middle East. On Tuesday, the Kata’ib Hezbollah group, which has been blamed for the attacks by the US, said it would stop targeting US sites, but that promise did not seem to lessen the calls for retaliatory strikes coming out of Washington.

On Wednesday, US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged Biden to strike targets inside of Iran, and predicted that a war between the two countries would occur this year, “the only thing the Iranian regime understands is force,” the senator posted.

Hours before the attack, Biden met with family members of the three slain US service members as their remains arrived in the US. The event was also attended by the First Lady Jill Biden and Austin. A statement released by the White House promised further attacks. “Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” the statement reads, while also claiming that “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.”

The attack comes one day after US and UK forces hit Houthi targets in Yemen, the latest in a series of attacks that the US says is in response to Houthi attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

On Friday local time, before the recent US attack in Syria, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told crowds that “Iran will not initiate a war but will answer bullies firmly and authoritatively,” noting that the IRGC “it not a threat” but that “regional countries can rely on [its] power.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »