US launches airstrikes targeting Iran-backed militia in Iraq, Syria | TheHill – The Hill

The U.S. launched five airstrikes targeting Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, the Trump administration announced Sunday. 

The U.S. launched F-15 Strike Eagles against five targets associated with Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-sponsored Shiite militia group, Secretary of Defense Mark EsperMark EsperRussia commissions intercontinental hypersonic weapon Putin: Russia now leading world in hypersonic weapons Defense secretary eyes pullout from West Africa: report MORE told reporters Sunday at a briefing from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. 

“The strikes were successful,” Esper said. “The pilots and aircraft returned back to base safely.”

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The targets included three in Western Iraq and two in Eastern Syria that were either command and control facilities or weapons caches for the Iranian-backed militia group, Esper said. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump must be removed — for more than reasons offered in impeachment Netanyahu promises U.S. recognition of Israeli settlements  Trump’s approach in Afghanistan is first, best chance for solution to war MORE, who was with Esper in Florida to brief President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea holds political conference before year-end concessions deadline set for US Gabbard says impeachment will only ’embolden’ Trump Warren: ‘If there’s a lawful order for a subpoena, I assume’ Biden would comply MORE, called the airstrikes a “decisive response” to what he said were threats against American forces that “has been going on now for weeks and weeks and weeks.” 

“This wasn’t the first set of attacks against this particular Iraqi facility and others where there were American lives at risk,” Pompeo said. 

An American contractor, several U.S. service members and Iraqi personnel were injured Friday in a rocket attack in northern Iraq. 

Esper said he discussed other available options with Trump and said the U.S. “will take additional actions as necessary” to act in self-defense.

The U.S. airstrikes killed at least 25 people, CNN reported citing a statement from Popular Mobilization Units, a Tehran-backed Shiiite militia also known as Hashd al-Shaabi. 

The strikes occurred at about 11 a.m. on Sunday, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. 

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