The United States military on Thursday conducted five airstrikes targeting Kata'ib Hezbollah facilities in Iraq.
The facilities targeted were used for storing weapons, and the strikes would "significantly degrade [Hezbollah's] ability to conduct future attacks" against the U.S. or allied forces, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
"These strikes were defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups (SMG) who continue to attack bases hosting OIR coalition forces," the Pentagon added.
Two U.S. and one United Kingdom service members were killed in strikes at Camp Taji in Iraq on Wednesday. Fourteen others were wounded.
"The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said. "As we have demonstrated in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region."
Why It Matters
Esper earlier suggested that President Donald Trump had given him the authority to retaliate in the aftermath of the death of American and British service members, as reported by Reuters.
The defense secretary didn't rule out conducting an airstrike in Iranian territory at the time but said that the "groups" responsible for the attack would be the immediate priority.
Similar strikes by Hezbollah at an Iraqi airbase that killed a U.S. contractor resulted in the Pentagon retaliating with five airstrikes at Hezbollah-controlled bases and later killing one of the most prominent Iranian military leaders, Qassem Soleimani.
Iran's further retaliatory strikes left more than a hundred American troops with brain injuries. The war-like situation was contained when the Iranian military accidentally shot down a civilian plane killing all 170 people onboard.
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