President Joe Biden ordered retaliatory air strikes on three sites in Iraq on Monday after Iran-backed terrorists launched a drone attack on a U.S. military base, wounding three American service members, including one who is in critical condition.

U.S. officials say that Kataib Hezbollah terrorists in Iraq attacked the Erbil Air Base in northern Iraq early on Monday. The base has been targeted several times, according to media reports.

“Today’s attack led to three injuries to U.S. personnel, leaving one service member in critical condition. My prayers are with the brave Americans who were injured today,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement:

Today, at @POTUS’ direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary & proportionate strikes on 3 facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah & affiliated groups in Iraq. These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq & Syria by…

— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) December 26, 2023

Biden was briefed on the attack and ordered the Pentagon to prepare a response.

The U.S. military struck three sites Monday used by Kataib Hezbollah terrorists “and affiliated groups in Iraq,” according to Austin’s statement. The military said the air strikes led to the likely killing of “a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants,” according to Reuters.

The Iraqi government called the U.S. strikes “unacceptable.”

Austin added that “the President and I will not hesitate to take necessary action to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests. There is no higher priority. While we do not seek to escalate conflict in the region, we are committed and fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities.”

According to Reuters, the U.S. military has been attacked at least 100 times in Iraq and Syria since the Israel–Hamas war started in October, usually with a mix of rockets and drones.

The conflict in northern Iraq also comes as Iranian-linked Houthi rebels in Yemen have been attacking commercial vessels and U.S. naval ships in the Red Sea. Last week, the Pentagon announced that it was creating a new multinational task force with the goal of protecting ships transiting through the Red Sea.

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U.S. Launches Air Strikes in Iraq in Response to Hezbollah Attack on Military Base

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said ‘we are committed and fully prepared to take further necessary measures ... READ MORE


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