(ReliableNews.org) – The repercussions of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel have echoed across the region, resulting in an eruption of chaos by various groups. CNBC reports indicate several entities aligned with Iran disapprove of Israel’s subsequent actions in Gaza and attribute partial blame to the United States. Consequently, militant factions have initiated drone strikes targeting US forces in Iraq and Syria. The most recent incident caused injuries to three US personnel.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III issued a statement on December 25 regarding the latest retaliatory strikes by the US in Iraq. He stated that President Joe Biden had instructed the US military to target three facilities in the country believed to be utilized by Kataib Hezbollah and other affiliated groups.
Austin said the strikes were a response to a “series of attacks against US personnel” on Erbil Air Base on Christmas morning. He said the groups launching the initial attacks were “Iranian-sponsored militias.”
The statement mentioned that three US personnel members were injured in the drone strikes, with one service member in critical condition. Austin didn’t indicate if the other two were also US military. The secretary relayed his concern for those injured and sent his prayers for their recovery. He also mentioned that he and Biden “will not hesitate” to “defend the United States, our troops, and our interests.” Austin said there was no other higher priority. However, he made it clear the United States has no interest in escalating any conflict in the region. CNBC reported the strike was likely successful in destroying multiple facilities. Reports also stated that “a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants” were probably killed.
Other Incidents and Comments
According to a recent report from the Military Times, attacks of a similar nature since October 7 have led to 66 injuries among US troops — not including the most recent incident. During that period, the US military had conducted three strikes targeting facilities utilized by Iran-backed groups in Syria.
There have been a minimum of 100 attacks targeting the US military in Iraq and Syria since the commencement of the Hamas-Israeli war. A defense official told the news outlet that 47 incidents happened in Iraq and more than 50 in Syria using “drones, rockets, mortars, and close-range ballistic missiles.”
A significant escalation occurred earlier this month when the US embassy compound in Baghdad was targeted, marking the first such attack in over a year.
Austin reportedly held a press conference in Israel recently, where he stated the “attacks by […] Iranian proxies threaten the region’s citizens” and could lead to a “broader conflict.”
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