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President Joe Biden directed the US military to execute retaliatory airstrikes on Iranian-backed militia groups following a drone attack in northern Iraq that critically injured one of three American servicemembers.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson confirmed the severity of the injuries and attributed the attack to the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and its affiliates.

These strikes, conducted early Tuesday in Iraq, “destroyed the targeted facilities and likely killed a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants,” according to US Central Command. Watson emphasized, “The President places no higher priority than the protection of American personnel serving in harm’s way.”

This incident is part of a series of escalating tensions and attacks in the region, particularly following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that ignited a war in Gaza. The US, while committed to defending its personnel, has faced criticism for its calibrated response strategy, seeking to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from broadening into a more extensive regional war.

Despite the recent spike in attacks by Iranian-backed militias, the US maintains its mission in Iraq and Syria to train local forces and combat remnants of the Islamic State.


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