U.S. launches retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that the United States has launched a retaliatory strike in Iraq. On Wednesday Iraqi Security Forces found a pickup truck rigged with a rocket launcher in its bed a few miles away from Camp Taji. Photo courtesy of Iraqi Security Media Cell/Twitter

March 13 (UPI) — The United States conducted airstrikes on facilities in Iraq on Thursday in retaliation for an attack that killed two U.S. service members, U.S. military officials said.

The Pentagon said the strikes targeted five Kata’ib Hezbollah storage facilities that housed weapons used to target coalition troops. The retaliatory strikes were a direct response to Wednesday’s rocket attack on Camp Taji.

That attack killed two U.S. troops and one British service member, and injured 14 others.

“The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in the Pentagon’s statement. “As we have demonstrated in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region.”

The Pentagon’s statement also said the attacks were carried out by Shiite militia groups and marked the “latest in a series” of attacks on the United States.

Also on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill, introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and passed out of the Senate a month ago, barring President Donald Trump from using military force against Iran without consent from Congress.

Trump has promised to veto the bill.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, was scheduled to give a briefing on Thursday’s strikes at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Pentagon.


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