The United States on Wednesday carried out retaliatory precision strikes against two facilities in Iraq, the US military said.
“U.S. Central Command forces conducted discrete, precision strikes against two facilities in Iraq,” a statement from the US military said.
“The strikes were in direct response to the attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces by Iran and Iran-backed groups, including the one in Iraq on November 21, which involved use of close-range ballistic missiles,” the statement added.
The strike reportedly hit a vehicle belonging to a pro-Iranian group in a convoy travelling through Abu Ghraib, 30 kilometers west of Baghdad.
The Pentagon earlier confirmed an attack by Iran-back militias against US and coalition forces at Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq’s Western Anbar province. The airbase hosts forces of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said that the attack resulted in “eight injuries and some minor damage to infrastructure”.
“Immediately following the attack, a US military AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defense strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iranian-backed militia personnel involved in this attack. This self-defense strike resulted in several enemy KIA (killed in action),” Ryder said.
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters in Washington that US forces “have been attacked approximately 66 times since October 17 — 32 separate times in Iraq and 34 separate times in Syria.”
Singh said the militants were targeted in Iraq “because the AC-130 was able to determine the point of origin from where the close-range ballistic missile was… fired to the base” and then tracked the militants in their vehicle.
One Iranian-backed fighter was killed in the strike while three others sustained injuries, reported AFP citing a source from the Hashed al-Shaabi.