WASHINGTON, DC —The United States conducted a military airstrike Thursday in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq targeting Iranian-backed militias in retaliation for a recent rocket strike in Erbil in northern Iraq that left several Americans injured, according to U.S. officials.
The airstrike targeted structures in the eastern Syrian town of Al Bukamal that belong to Kataib Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias that have launched rocket attacks in the past against American facilities in Iraq, said the U.S. official.
Officials described the airstrike as targeting a location through which smuggling occurred.
The airstrike was ordered by President Joe Biden in retaliation for a Feb. 15 rocket attack against a U.S. base in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil that killed a coalition contractor and left several American contractors and a U.S. military service member wounded.
The airstrikes took place about 6 p.m. ET.
The Pentagon had not blamed Iranian-backed militias for the attack even though forensic evidence recovered soon after the attack pointed to a connection to Iranian-backed militias that have conducted similar attacks in the past.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that the U.S. “reserves the right to respond in the time and manner of our choosing” to the attack.