U.S. Executes Retaliatory Airstrikes Against Iran-Supported Militias In Iraq

This picture taken on July 8, 2021 shows a view of the Ain al-Assad air base hosting US forces in Iraq in the western Anbar province, a day after fourteen rockets were fired at the base. – Fourteen rockets were fired on July 7 at an air base hosting American troops in the western province of Anbar, causing minor injuries to two personnel, the coalition said. The rockets “landed on the base & perimeter” of the Ain al-Assad base, the coalition spokesman tweeted, adding that local homes and a mosque were also damaged. Iraqi security forces said the rocket launcher had been hidden inside a truck carrying bags of flour. (Photo by Ayman HENNA / AFP) (Photo by AYMAN HENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
4:00 PM – Tuesday, January 23, 2024

In response to ballistic missiles that were fired into the Al-Assad airbase, which resulted in traumatic brain injuries to four American servicemen, the United States launched staged airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Iraq.


On Tuesday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes in Iraq against militias backed by Iran as retaliation for missiles fired against the Al-Assad airbase on Sunday, which caused traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to four U.S. personnel, according to two U.S. officials who spoke to the press.

According to the officials, the attack on U.S. troops on Sunday at the large Iraqi airbase in western Iraq consisted of 17 ballistic missiles and rockets that were fired from inside the country.

As a result, two ballistic missiles managed to pass through American air defenses, despite the fact that most of the projectiles were stopped.

According to the Pentagon, four U.S. service members returned to their duties following evaluations for TBI’s, and an Iraqi official was also injured in the explosions. The attack caused structural damage to “noncritical facilities.” Therefore, U.S. officials could potentially expect additional service members to come forward with TBI symptoms as well.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a statement regarding the incident.

“Today, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq. These precision strikes are in direct response to a series of escalatory attacks against U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias,” Austin announced.

“The President and I will not hesitate to take necessary action to defend them and our interests,” he added. “We do not seek to escalate conflict in the region. We are fully prepared to take further measures to protect our people and our facilities. We call on these groups and their Iranian sponsors to immediately cease these attacks.”

Since mid-October 2023, there have been over 150 rocket and drone offenses on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria which were performed by Iranian-supported militias who claimed that they are advocates of Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza. However, their use of ballistic missiles was viewed as a clear escalation.

There are still currently 2,500 U.S. armed forces serving in Iraq and another 900 in Syria that are working to stop a revival of the Islamic State and religious extremist ideals. 

However, briefly after a U.S. drone strike on January 4th that killed a top leader of one of the Iranian-backed militia groups responsible for the attacks on U.S. forces, the Iraqi Parliament questioned the legitimacy of keeping American troops in the country.

As a result, the groups have not stopped launching attacks after that particular drone strike or other retaliatory actions carried out inside of Syria and Iraq.

The United States, which has also launched retaliatory strikes in Yemen against Houthi militants responsible for over 30 attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, see the attacks as an indication of growing tensions in the region.

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