The Pentagon said that the airstrikes were retaliation for a rocket attack earlier this month that killed a civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member in Iraq.
In a statement, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said,
“At President Joe Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces, earlier this evening, launched airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in Eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to on-going threats to those personnel,”
The Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the department was “very deliberative in our approach as you would expect us to be,”.
Reuters reported that potentially 17 people had been killed in the airstrike, but that the toll could not be independently confirmed.
Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby said that “President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel.”
Adding, “At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq”.