By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
The U.S. conducted a second round of retaliatory airstrikes at facilities used by Iran’s elite military and Iran-backed groups in Syria on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
Attacks by Iranian-backed militias on bases in Iraq and Syria hosting U.S. troops numbered 41 on Wednesday after at least one more was confirmed, Fox News reported. The retaliatory strikes marked the second time the U.S. has targeted facilities linked to Iran and its proxy militias since the wave of attempted drone and rocket attacks beginning on Oct. 17.
“This precision self-defense strike is a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force affiliates,” Austin said in the statement. “The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.” Facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated militias, the statement said. Two U.S. F-15 fighter jets conducted the airstrikes.
“The United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities. We urge against any escalation. U.S. personnel will continue to conduct counter-ISIS missions in Iraq and Syria,” he added.
Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder on Monday characterized the operations as repeated “harassing attacks of drones and rockets.” At least 46 personnel sustained injuries including traumatic brain injuries and minor wounds from shrapnel, headaches, perforated ear drums and other conditions, he said.