The Defense Department says the U.S. military conducted airstrikes Sunday against what it says were “facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups” near the border between Iraq and Syria.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.
Kirby says the U.S. military, under the direction of President Joe Biden, targeted three operational and weapons storage facilities — two in Syria and one in Iraq.
He is describing the airstrikes as “defensive,” saying they were launched in response to an “ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq.”
“The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation — but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message,” Kirby said.
During a White House briefing on Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki provided an explanation as to why the U.S. conducted the airstrikes.
“As a matter of domestic law, the president took this action – the airstrikes that were announced yesterday by the Department Defense – pursuant to Article Two authority to defend U.S. personnel,” said Psaki. “The targeted strikes were directed at facilities used by Iran-backed militias involved in these ongoing attacks for purposes including weapon storage, command logistics, and unmanned aerial vehicle operations.”