Washington: Following strikes in Iraq and Syria, US President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the US does not seek a conflict in the Middle East but if any American is harmed, the country will respond.
US President’s strong remark came in response to heightened tensions in the Middle East. The United States has initiated airstrikes targeting militia positions in both Iraq and Syria, CNN reported.
“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” the US President said.
This marks the beginning of what appears to be a series of more substantial strikes against Iranian-backed militias, who have been implicated in attacks on US troops in the region. Two US officials confirmed the commencement of these retaliatory measures.
“This past Sunday, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Earlier today, I attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base, and I have spoken with each of their families,” added Biden.
“This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces. Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, the US Central Command said that the US conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria “against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.”
According to two US defence officials, cited by CNN, the targets were spread across seven locations.
The CENTCOM statement said, “US military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from the United States. The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions. The facilities that were struck included command and control operations, centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against US and Coalition forces.”US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday involved the participation of Air Force B-1 bombers, a defence official told CNN.
The B-1 is a long-range heavy bomber that has the ability to deploy precision and non-precision weapons.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin also released a statement in the wake of the strikes in Iraq and Syria, saying the attacks are “the start of our response”.
“The President has directed additional actions to hold the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on US and Coalition Forces,” Austin said in a statement, adding, “These will unfold at times and places of our choosing. We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces.”
“We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests,” he also said.
The airstrikes follow a drone attack by Iran-backed militants on a US military outpost in Jordan on Sunday, resulting in the tragic deaths of three US service members and the injury of over 40 others. (ANI)