- Pentagon launched devastating military operation in the Middle East on Friday
- Two bombers flew from the U.S. to hit sites linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
- Strikes began after Biden attended dignified transfer for the three troops killed
The U.S. has launched a devastating wave of airstrikes on Iran‘s Revolutionary Guard in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops.
Multiple long-range bombers and drones hit 85 targets with 125 bombs over 30 minutes in the widespread military operation on Friday night ordered by President Joe Biden.
As explosions rang out across the Middle East the president said strikes will continue ‘at times and places of our choosing’ and warned militias: ‘If you harm an American, we will respond’.
Two two B-1- bombers flew from the U.S. for the mission hitting multiple targets linked to the IRGC and Iran-backed militias, including command and intelligence centers and areas where missiles and drones were stored.
Shocking footage from Al-Qaim, an Iraqi border town, showed rockets flying from a munitions factory believed to have been hit by American bombers at midnight local time.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said at least 18 pro-Iranian fighters were killed in the strikes in eastern Syria.
Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Specialist Breonna Moffett, 23, were killed and more than 40 troops were injured in the attack that sparked further tensions in the Middle East.
Biden ordered the strikes just hours after he attended the dignified transfer ceremony for their remains at Dover Air Force Base.
He held his hand over his heart as he watched their flag-draped coffins being carried across the tarmac after arriving back on home soil.
A short time after the solemn ceremony finished, he authorized the huge response he has threatened for days.
‘This past Sunday, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan by a drone launched by militant groups backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),’ Biden said on Friday.
‘Earlier today, I attended the dignified return of these brave Americans at Dover Airforce Base, and I have spoken with each of their families.
‘This afternoon, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces.
‘Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing. The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.
‘But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.’
It’s unclear what the next steps will be or when they will take place, or whether the days of U.S. warnings have sent militia members scattering into hiding.
But the recent statement released by Kataeb Hezbollah, one of the main Iran-backed militias, saying it was suspending attacks on American troops had no impact on the administration’s plans to retaliate.
National Security Council John Kirby said the response to the deadly drone strike will be ‘tiered’ and could ‘potentially include multiple actions over a period of time.’
‘At 4:00 p.m. (EST) Feb. 02, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups,’ U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
‘U.S. military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States.
‘The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions.
‘The facilities that were struck included command and control operations, centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aired vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces.’
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who returned to work at the Pentagon this week after his secret hospital trip for prostate cancer treatment, reiterated that the U.S. did not want wider war.
‘Following the attack on U.S. and Coalition Forces in northeastern Jordan this past Sunday that killed three U.S. service members, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces today conducted strikes on seven facilities, which included more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated militias use to attack U.S. forces,’ Austin said Friday.
‘This is the start of our response. The President has directed additional actions to hold the IRGC and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on U.S. and Coalition Forces.
‘These will unfold at times and places of our choosing. We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but the President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces.
‘We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests.’