In response to a rocket attack that killed two U.S. soldiers and one British soldier in Iraq on Wednesday, the U.S. has launched a number of retaliatory strikes against multiple targets in the region. Pentagon officials stated earlier on Thursday that the U.S. and its allies were weighing options on how to respond to the deadly rocket attack carried out by Iranian-backed militia groups.
The Associated Press reports that U.S. airstrikes targeted Kataib Hezbollah weapons facilities in Iraq on Thursday. The strikes are reportedly a joint operation between Britain and the U.S. and targeted Shia militia members believed to be responsible for Wednesday night’s deadly attack. The strikes were ongoing at the time of the reporting.
Two U.S. service members and one British soldier were killed in a rocket attack on Wednesday, around 7:35 p.m. local time. Iraq’s Camp Taji base was hosting U.S.-led coalition forces when more than 15 rockets struck the military base, killing the three coalition troops. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the attack was perpetrated by Iranian-backed Shia militant groups.
“Let me be clear,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned. “The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies.” Defense Secretary Esper would not rule out the possibility of a retaliatory strike against Iran when asked about the possibility on Thursday.
In December, a U.S. contractor was killed in Iraq by a rocket attack carried out by Iranian-backed militia groups. The U.S. launched retaliatory strikes against targets in the region, including the strike on Iranian Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani. The death of the Iranian general brought tensions to a boil, prompting Iran to launch missiles at a base housing U.S. troops in Iraq. Iranian officials admitted to “unintentionally” shooting down a Ukrainian Airlines passenger plane carrying 176 people just hours after the strike. The victims on the plane were from Canada, the UK, Sweden, Ukraine, Germany, Afghanistan, and Iran. No Americans were killed.