A U.S. contractor was killed and five U.S. troops and a second U.S. contractor were wounded when a suspected Iranian-linked drone struck a coalition military base in northeastern Syria late Thursday, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Pentagon said it responded to the attack by launching retaliatory airstrikes on facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take all necessary steps to protect our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing. No group will attack our troops with impunity.” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a separate statement. He said the airstrikes were in response to Thursday’s attack and recent strikes targeting coalition forces in Syria.
There was no immediate reaction from the Iranian government. Iran’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Syrian Observatory for Human RightsThe London-based war monitor said US airstrikes killed eight pro-Iranian fighters in Syria.
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Austin said in a statement that two wounded US soldiers were being treated at the site of the attack. Three additional service members and a U.S. contractor were medically evacuated to medical facilities in neighboring Iraq.
There are about 900 U.S. troops and an unknown number of U.S. military contractors in Syria, maintained to pressure the remnants of the Islamic State militant group and try to limit Iran’s influence in Syria. This is not the first time President Joe Biden has authorized strikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria.
The US Congress is currently considering repealing bills that authorized the use of force against the Iraqi government during the Iraq War from 1991 and 2002, with its 20th anniversary on Monday. The bill is known as the Authorization of Military Force, or AUMF. Some lawmakers called on President George W. They want to repeal or renew the 2001 AUMF, which grew out of Bush’s “global war on terror” and the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan. That 2001 authorization has been extended to allow the United States to target terrorist groups in Syria, Pakistan, the Philippines and beyond.
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