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United States strikes back against Iran-backed militias in Iraq

President Joe Biden Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon, file

United States strikes back against Iran-backed militias in Iraq

The U.S. air strikes hit Iraq-based militant groups on Christmas night, just hours after a drone strike injured three American military personnel at a U.S. airbase in the country. Iraq said the retaliatory attacks killed one person and injured 18 others, including civilians. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin described the attack as “necessary and proportionate,” also saying President Joe Biden authorized it. U.S. Central Command said in a statement that there were no indications that “any civilian lives” were affected by its retaliatory strikes.

Who launched the initial attack? A militia called Islamic Resistance in Iraq said it was behind the initial drone strike, which injured three U.S. military personnel. Islamic Resistance is linked to Kataib Hezbollah, a militant group armed and financed by Iran. The drone strike hit an airbase in Erbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The retaliatory attacks hit three locations “utilized by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities,” according to a statement from U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Mindy Belz’s report about how Kurdish forces fought against Islamic State in 2016.

Tobin Jacobson

Tobin Jacobson is a student at Patrick Henry College and the World Journalism Institute.

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