İrem UZUN -TDO- The U.S. has conducted air strikes in Iraq and Syria against an Iran-backed Iraqi militia blamed for an attack that killed a US civilian contractor. The U.S. secretary of state said it would not stand for Iran taking actions that put American lives in jeopardy. Weapons caches and command and control centers at five sites associated with Kataib Hezbollah were hit on Sunday and at least 25 fighters died, the defence department said.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said U.S. forces conducted "precision defensive strikes" against three Kataib Hezbollah facilities in Iraq and two in Syria that would degrade its ability to conduct attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces based in Iraq to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) group. These locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that Kataib Hezbollah used to plan and execute attacks. U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper told reporters the strikes were "successful" and that he had discussed with President Donald Trump "other options" to discourage further attacks on U.S. forces. "I would note also that we will take additional actions as necessary to ensure that we act in our own self-defence and we deter further bad behaviour from militia groups or from Iran," he said.
Tehran condemned the raids on Monday, and a top Iraqi militia leader pledged to carry out further offensive actions against U.S. bases in the coming days. "U.S. military aggression against Iraqi soil and Iraqi forces is strongly condemned as a clear example of terrorism," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to the state news agency IRNA.