US retaliates as airstrikes hit 85 Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria
ISLAMABAD (PEN) : In response to a drone strike by Iran-backed militants on a U.S. military outpost in Jordan that resulted in the death of three American service members, the United States has launched airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
The targeted strikes focused on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.
Extensive airstrikes hit 85 targets
The U.S. Central Command revealed that the airstrikes spanned seven locations, targeting more than 85 sites. Utilizing numerous aircraft, including long-range bombers flown from the United States, the strikes employed over 125 precision munitions.
The facilities hit included command and control operations, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities associated with militia groups and their IRGC sponsors.
Biden admin signals multi-tiered response
Officials indicate that these strikes mark a more significant response than previous actions against Iranian-backed militias.
While aiming to deter further attacks, the Biden administration aims to avoid a full-scale conflict with Iran, especially amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned that the U.S. response would be “multi-tiered.”
US announces sanctions IRGC
Concurrently with the airstrikes, President Joe Biden announced new sanctions and charges targeting the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
These measures include sanctions on six officials in the cyber-electronic command of the IRGC and a network of Iran and Hong Kong-based suppliers providing materials for Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs.
Biden vows continued military response
President Biden released a statement reaffirming the U.S. commitment to responding to harm against Americans. He stated that the military response would continue “at times and places of our choosing,” emphasizing that the United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or elsewhere.
A senior administration official confirmed that the United States will not strike inside Iran, focusing solely on targets outside the country. Striking inside Iran would have represented a significant escalation, and officials had indicated that such action was unlikely.
White House informs Iraq ahead of strikes
Amid accusations of violating Iraqi sovereignty, the White House asserted that it informed the Iraqi government before conducting the airstrikes.
The Iraqi military condemned the strikes, considering them a threat to regional security and stability.