Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that in response to a 28 January attack that killed 3 U.S. soldiers and injured over 40, the U.S. “conducted strikes on seven facilities, which included more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated militias use to attack U.S. forces… The President has direction additional actions”. President Biden affirmed that “our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing. The U.S. does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond”. The Iraqi government characterised the strikes as an “act of aggression against Iraq's sovereignty”, while confirming sixteen fatalities, including civilians, and 25 injuries. It further noted: “The presence of the international coalition, which deviated from its assigned tasks and granted mandate, has become a reason for endangering security and stability in Iraq”. The Syrian military also reported “many civilian and military” casualties, asserting “U.S. forces’ occupation of parts in Syria couldn’t continue”. Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson condemned the strikes as a “strategic mistake, which will have no result other than the escalation of tension and instability in the region”. “The root of the tension and crisis in the region is the occupation of the Israeli regime and the continuation of its military operations in Gaza”, he reaffirmed.
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