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U.S. Military Launches Defensive Airstrikes Near Iraq-Syria Border

U.S. Military Launches Defensive Airstrikes Near Iraq-Syria Border

On Sunday evening, the U.S. military launched defensive airstrikes against three facilities near the Iraq-Syria border region.

According to Fox News, the targeted facilities are used by Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.

"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."

The strikes, which used F-15 and F-16 aircraft, took place over the weekend, and one of the facilities was destroyed. A U.S. defense official said he does not expect "a lot of casualties" because the strike happened about 1 a.m. local time. According to Reuters, the U.S. military was assessing the damage.

Iraqi military groups, meanwhile, said four members were killed in the attack.

The U.S. airstrikes came in response to drone attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. American soldiers have been working with Baghdad to clear the country of remnants of the Islamic State.

This is the second time Biden has ordered a defensive strike against Iran-backed militia. He previously ordered a strike in Syria in February after rocket attacks in Iraq.

Biden is working to potentially revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, but the recent strike has further complicated the issue.

"Certainly what the United States is doing is disrupting security in the region, and one of the victims of this disruption will be the United States," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.

Biden is scheduled to meet with Israel's outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House this week. Israel and Iran are longtime enemies.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.