The Pentagon estimates that the counterattack killed several Iran-linked militants.
The U.S. military retaliated against Iranian-backed militants who wounded several soldiers in Iraq early Tuesday morning local time, according to U.S. officials.
Militants launched a ballistic missile attack from a truck against U.S. forces at al-Asad air base in western Iraq, leaving several service members lightly injured, U.S. officials said.
“I can confirm an attack last night by Iranian-backed militias using a short-range ballistic missile against U.S. and coalition forces at al-Assad air base in Iraq, which resulted in several unrelated injuries. serious and minor damage to infrastructure.” by Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh.
“We can confirm an attack last night by Iranian-backed militias using a short-range ballistic missile against us and coalition forces on Al-Asad Air Base, which resulted in eight injuries and damage miners to infrastructure. Immediately following the attack, a U.S. Army AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defense strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iran-backed militiamen. Iran involved in this attack,” said Pentagon press secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder.
A US AC-130 fighter jet that was flying in the area at the time observed the attack and followed the militants’ vehicle, then returned fire. The United States estimates that several Iran-linked fighters were killed in the rapid counterattack.
The missile attack on al-Asad is the 66th such attack by Iranian proxies against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, when a wave of near-daily assaults began. About 70 U.S. troops were lightly injured or suffered head trauma during that time, according to the Pentagon.
Last week, U.S. warplanes struck a weapons storage facility and command and control center in Syria that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other officials said were being used by the groups supported by Iran to carry out their attacks. The United States has launched two other rounds of similar retaliatory airstrikes since mid-October on Iran-linked facilities, but unlike Tuesday’s AC-130 counterattack, these were planned in advance. advances, instead of being targeted in real time.
The United States has deployed troops to Iraq and Syria as part of its mission to defeat remnants of the Islamic State.