Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement on Christmas Eve announcing that the United States had launched retaliatory strikes against the terrorist group Kataib Hezbollah the same day.
“Today, under the leadership of President Biden, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq,” Austin said in the statement. “These precision strikes are a response to a series of attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias, including an attack by Iran-affiliated Kataib Hezbollah, and of affiliated groups at Erbil Air Base earlier today, and intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the directly responsible Iran-aligned militias.
Three US service members were injured in the attack by Kataib Hezbollah terrorists in Iraq on Christmas Day, including one US service member who was seriously injured.
Austin continued his statement: “Today’s attack injured three U.S. personnel, leaving one service member in critical condition. My prayers go out to the brave Americans who were injured. »
The Defense Secretary added: “And let me be clear: The President and I will not hesitate to take the actions necessary to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests. There is no higher priority. While we do not seek to escalate the conflict in the region, we are determined and fully prepared to take the additional measures necessary to protect our people and our facilities.
CENTCOM Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla said in a statement that the airstrikes aim to hold regional actors “accountable.”
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