Joe Biden In the aftermath of a drone attack at the Erbil Air Base injuring three US service members, President Joe Biden has taken decisive action. The National Security Council attributed the attack to Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and affiliates, prompting the president’s response.
Retaliation Directive: Strikes Against Kataib Hezbollah
Upon receiving a briefing on the injuries sustained, President Biden ordered the Department of Defense to explore retaliation options. The subsequent directive led to targeted airstrikes on three locations associated with Kataib Hezbollah, specifically focusing on unmanned aerial drone activities, according to National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.
Timing of Response and Casualties: Joe Biden
The retaliatory strikes occurred approximately 12 hours after the initial attack, resulting in the death of one militant and injuries to 18 others, as reported by Iraqi officials. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized that these strikes aimed to disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the groups responsible.
Biden’s Prior Warning to Iran
President Joe Biden had previously issued a warning to Iran, signaling a commitment to respond if American troops were targeted during the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The recent strikes align with this warning, holding accountable those responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.
Pentagon’s Ongoing Efforts in the Region
The Pentagon’s response extends beyond the immediate situation, addressing concerns related to Iran-backed militant groups operating in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, as well as Houthi rebels in Yemen. Rocket attacks on bases housing U.S. troops have increased, with the Pentagon countering through airstrikes on rocket storage and launch sites.
Red Sea Coalition and Intercept Operations
In response to drone attacks on commercial vessels by Houthi rebels, the Pentagon established a coalition in the Red Sea. Over the weekend, the USS Laboon successfully intercepted four drones, and subsequent operations involving the Laboon and F/A-18 Super Hornet warplanes intercepted 12 attack drones and three anti-ship cruise missiles in the southern Red Sea on Tuesday.
Houthi Attacks on Commercial Shipping
Since October 17, Houthi militants have launched 15 attacks on commercial shipping. This comprehensive update was compiled with contributions from Joey Garrison, Francesca Chambers (USA TODAY), and the Associated Press.