US launches massive airstrikes on Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria

US Airstrikes

New Delhi: The US military unleashed a wave of airstrikes on more than 85 targets belonging to Iranian-backed militias and the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iraq and Syria on Friday, in one of the largest operations of its kind in the region.

The Pentagon said the strikes were a response to a deadly drone attack on a US base in Jordan on Sunday, which killed three Army reservists and wounded dozens more. The US blamed Iran for providing weapons and funding to the militants who carried out the attack, while Iran denied any involvement.

The airstrikes hit seven locations across the two countries, including command and control centers, intelligence facilities, rocket and missile launchers, drone and ammunition depots, and other sites that could pose a threat to US and coalition forces. The Quds Force, which is responsible for Iran’s foreign operations and support for regional militias, was also targeted.

President Biden warns Iran
President Joe Biden, who attended a ceremony to honor the fallen soldiers at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, issued a stern warning to Iran and its proxies after the strikes, saying that the US would not tolerate any harm to its personnel.

“The United States does not want conflict in the Middle East or anywhere in the world. But those who want to harm us, know this: If you harm any American, we will respond,” Biden said in a statement.

He added that the US was committed to de-escalating tensions in the region and pursuing diplomacy with Iran, but also ready to defend its interests and allies.

Iraq condemns US strikes
The US airstrikes drew condemnation from Iraq, which said they violated its sovereignty and undermined its efforts to maintain stability in the region. The spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces said the attacks were “a threat that will push Iraq and the region into undesirable outcomes, with serious consequences for security and stability in Iraq and the region.”

Iraq, which hosts thousands of US troops and contractors, has been caught in the crossfire between the US and Iran for years, as both sides vie for influence and leverage. Iraq has also been struggling to contain the remnants of the Islamic State group, which still poses a security challenge in some areas.

US Airstrikes

The US strikes also raised concerns among some lawmakers and analysts, who questioned the legal basis and strategic rationale for the operation and warned of the risk of further escalation and retaliation. Some also called for more congressional oversight and involvement in the use of military force in the Middle East.