Tensions are rising following US attacks on Iranian-backed militias in both Syria and Iraq on February 2. This is in retaliation to a recent drone attack on a Jordanian facility that claimed the lives of three American service personnel, the US launched airstrikes at seven locations around Iraq and Syria, specifically targeting militias backed by Iran.
In response to the killing of three US soldiers, national security adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that these strikes were carried out as a form of retaliation and they attacked 85 targets in Iraq and Syria. He made it clear that these strikes "were the beginning, not the end of our response, and... there will be more steps, some seen, some perhaps unseen, all in an effort to send a very clear message that when American forces are attacked and Americans are killed, we will respond and we will respond forcefully."
The US alleged that Iran's "fingerprints" were on the attack on the US base in Jordan and that the drone was manufactured in Iran. Iran, however, denies any involvement in the charges. An Iraqi group supported by Iran, the Islamic Resistance, took credit for it.
In a different development, the US and the UK conducted airstrikes against Houthi targets in 13 different locations throughout Yemen on Saturday in an effort to halt the group's attacks on foreign shipping.
As a reaction to the conflict in Gaza, the Houthis, who are also supported by Iran, have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea since November. The Houthis promised to reply.
"We started responding today. Let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond," Biden said, issuing a warning that it will continue at times and locations of our choosing. He and other top American officials had been announcing for days that the United States would respond in phases rather than with a single, massive blow.
The city of al-Qaim and the region along Iraq's border with Syria have been struck by American aircraft, according to a statement released by the army's spokesman, Yahya Rasool. "They represent an infringement on Iraqi sovereignty and a danger that could lead both the country and the region to unfavorable outcomes," he added.
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