(Attributable to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby)
“On instructions from President Biden, US military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iranian-backed militias in the Iraqi-Syrian border region. in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks on US personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the US strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both located near the border between those countries. Several Iranian-backed militias, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.
As evidenced by tonight’s strikes, President Biden has made it clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. In view of the series of ongoing attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq, the president has ordered further military actions to disrupt and deter such attacks. We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi security forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS. The United States has taken the necessary, appropriate and deliberate steps designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.
Under international law, the United States has acted in accordance with its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to deal with the threat and suitably limited in scope. Under domestic law, the President took this step in accordance with his Article II authority to protect US personnel in Iraq. “