Here’s what you need to know…
President Biden has authorized military strikes on three locations in Iraq in response to an early Christmas morning attack on Erbil Air Base, during which three U.S. service members were injured, one critically. The attack was attributed to a militia group with ties to Iran, specifically Kataib Hezbollah and its affiliated groups. The U.S. alleges that these groups are connected to Iran.
According to a statement from National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson on Monday, President Biden was promptly briefed on the morning attack and subsequently instructed the Department of Defense to develop response options. The President then reviewed these options during a later call with Secretary of Defense Austin and his national security team, ultimately directing strikes against three facilities linked to Kataib Hezbollah.
The statement emphasized that the strikes targeted locations associated with unmanned aerial drone activities, carried out by a one-way attack drone. President Biden’s decision to retaliate underscores his commitment to protecting American personnel, and the statement warned of further action if such attacks persist.
Tensions in the region have been exacerbated by the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza, with the Biden administration supporting Israel. Concurrently, Iran-backed militia groups have intensified their activities in response to the conflict in Gaza.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asserted that the strikes were deemed “necessary and proportionate” to disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the militia groups responsible. Both Austin and President Biden reiterated the U.S.’s readiness to take additional measures to safeguard American interests and personnel, underscoring their commitment to defending the nation without seeking unnecessary escalation in the region.