The U.S. killed multiple enemy militants in a counterattack after an Iran-backed group launched a missile at a base where U.S. troops are stationed, the Pentagon said Tuesday, in a first since the massive escalation of attacks on U.S. troops that began in October.
On Monday night, an Iran-funded militia attacked an airbase in Iraq hosting U.S. troops with a close range ballistic missile, injuring eight troops, the Pentagon said Tuesday. A U.S. gunship operating in the area was able to trace the origin of the strike and maintain eyes on the militants, enabling U.S. troops to strike back immediately causing several casualties, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.
“I can confirm an attack last night by Iran-backed militias using a close-range ballistic missile against U.S. and coalition forces at Al Assad airbase in Iraq, which resulted in several non-serious injuries and some minor damage to infrastructure,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said at a briefing Tuesday.
Monday nights attacks marked the 66th time Iranian proxy groups have targeted locations throughout Iraq and Syria where U.S. troops are present with suicide drones, rockets and missiles since Oct. 17, according to ABC News. About 70 American troops sustained minor injuries or traumatic brain injuries during that time.
“Immediately following the attack, a U.S. 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,” Singh said.
The U.S. has conducted calculated retaliatory airstrikes at facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and regional proxies in Syria three times since the latest outbreak of attacks. Monday night was the first time U.S. forces launched an immediate counterattack, as well as the first time militants operating in Iraq were killed.
On 21 Nov. an AC-130 gunship engaged individuals responsible for launching a missile attack on U.S. and Coalition personnel at Al Assad Airbase, Iraq. The gunship maintained visual confirmation of the individuals from the time of the launch to the time of engagement. This strike… pic.twitter.com/KGSeAGi3fk
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 21, 2023
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