In retaliation to attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. Military executed precise air strikes on facilities belonging to Iranian-supported terrorists Thursday night.
"U.S. military forces conducted self-defense strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups," wrote Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a statement.
The Pentagon said it used F-16 fighter jets to launch air strikes near Bukamal, following drone attacks on U.S. forces that injured 21 soldiers and killed an independent contractor. Since October 17, there has been a reported 19 attacks against U.S. personnel at al-Asad airbase in Iraq and the al-Tanf garrison in Syria.
The U.S. Defense Department confirmed traumatic brain injuries among 19 of these soldiers.
"These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks [...] by Iranian-backed militia groups," confirmed Austin.
Highlighting the limited nature of these strikes, Austin clarified: "These narrowly tailored strikes in self-defense were intended solely to protect and defend U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria."
"They are separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict," he said.
Although the attacks have been carried out by local groups, John Kirby, the U.S. National Security Council spokesman told reporters that America will not give Iran "deniability" for the attacks. He personally holds the IRGC responsible.
"Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces," the U.S. warned. "We will not let them."
As a preventative measure, the military powerhouse has deployed 900 more troops to the region to protect American bases from further rocket attacks and kamikaze drone strikes.
"If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people," reads a statement. "We continue to urge all state and non-state entities not to take action that would escalate into a broader regional conflict."
"The United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," said Austin. "The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must stop."