Discussing the 31 December U.S. strikes against Kataeb Hizbollah bases in Iraq and Syria which followed a rocket attack leaving a U.S. contractor dead, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, noted that “we know that there's been a sustained campaign at least since October. We know that for certain. We know that the campaign has increased in tempo and intensity” and “the intent of this last attack [on December 27] was in fact to kill American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, whoever was there”. “Thirty-one rockets aren't designed as a warning shot”, he added. The U.S. Secretary of Defense asserted that “if we get word of attacks or some type of indication, we will take preemptive action, as well to – to protect American forces, to protect American lives… The game has changed and we're prepared to do what is necessary to defend our personnel, and our interests and our partners in the region”.
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