The US warned Iran that any attacks on its positions in Iraq would get a robust, if proportional, response. After Iranian-backed Shi’a militias marked the late Qassem Soleimani’s birthday by lobbing thirty-plus missiles at the Taji air base and killed two US and one British soldiers, the US launched air attacks on multiple locations in retaliation. The attacks took aim at weapons caches as well as militia strongholds, although no assessment of damage has been made public yet:
The Pentagon said in a statement that U.S. forces hit facilities “across Iraq” linked to Kataib Hezbollah, including storage facilities that housed weapons used in attacks on American and coalition troops.
“The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies,” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in the statement. “As we have demonstrated in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region.”
The aerial bombardment took place around 1:30 a.m., according to the Iraqi military. It was unclear whether any militia members were killed.
In response to a request for a White House statement, a senior administration official said that President Trump had directed U.S. forces to conduct strikes on five Kataib Hezbollah weapons storage facilities “to significantly degrade the group’s ability to carry out future attacks.”
“The President has been clear that we will not stand for the Iranian regime attacking Americans in Iraq or elsewhere, whether directly or through proxies,” the official said in an email.