U.S. launches retaliatory strikes in Iraq, Syria, nearly 40 reported killed
U.S. launches retaliatory strikes in Iraq, Syria, nearly 40 reported killed

A view of destruction after the US warplanes carried out an airstrike on the headquarters of Hashd al-Shaabi in Al-Qa’im city of Anbar, Iraq on February 03, 2024. 

Hashd al-Shaabi Media Office | Anadolu | Getty Images

The United States launched airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against more than 85 targets linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and the militias it backs, reportedly killing more than 30 people, in retaliation for a deadly attack on U.S. troops.

The strikes, which included the use of long-range B-1 bombers flown from the United States, were the first in a multi-tiered response by President Joe Biden’s administration to the attack last weekend by Iran-backed militants.

More U.S. military operations were expected in the coming days.

The strikes intensified a conflict that has spread into the region since war erupted between Israel and Hamas after the militant Palestinian group’s deadly assault on Israel on Oct.7.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a statement the U.S. attacks represented “another adventurous and strategic mistake by the United States that will result only in increased tension in instability in the region”.       

Iraq also condemned the U.S. attacks, saying they had killed 16 people including civilians. In Syria, the strikes killed 23 people who had been guarding the targeted locations, said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian

Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that reports on war in Syria.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Director for Operations Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II arrives to brief members of the House of Representatives in a classified, closed-door briefing about Hamas’ attack on Israel in the Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium on October 11, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.S. Lieutenant General Douglas Sims, the director of the Joint Staff, said the attacks appeared to be successful, triggering large secondary explosions as the bombs hit militant weaponry. He said the strikes were undertaken knowing that there would likely be casualties among those in the facilities.

Despite the strikes, the Pentagon has said it does not want war with Iran and does not believe Tehran wants war either, even as Republican pressure has increased on the Biden to deal a blow directly.

Iran, a backer of Hamas, has sought to stay out of the regional conflict itself even as it supports groups that have entered the fray from Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria – the so-called “Axis of Resistance” that is hostile to Israeli and U.S. interests.   

‘We do not seek conflict’ 

More than 160 attacks on U.S. troops   

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