At least one facility used by Iran’s militia forces to launch and recover drones was destroyed, a U.S. defense official with knowledge of the strikes told Fox News
The U.S. military has conducted defensive precision airstrikes against three facilities near the Iraq-Syria border region Sunday evening.
According to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, the facilities are used by several Iran-backed militia groups engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).
“As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks,” Kirby added. “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.”
A U.S. defense official with knowledge of the strikes told Fox News that US Air Force F-15s and F-16s were used in the operation. The strikes took place at approximately 6 p.m. Eastern Time, or 1 a.m. local time.
At least one facility used by Iran’s militia forces to launch and recover drones was destroyed, the official added. Recent strikes by the crude drones have targeted Americans in Baghdad and Erbil in northern Iraq.
The official said he does not expect “a lot of casualties” from the Iranian-backed forces because of the time of the strike.
All U.S. jets returned to base without a problem, the official added.
Sunday’s airstrikes are the latest operation carried out against Iranian-backed military groups, following President Biden’s first known military action in February, when an airstrike targeted a compound in Syria operated by Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al Shuhada.
Lucas Y. Tomlinson is a Pentagon correspondent for Fox News Channel. Follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews