The Pentagon announced that it had carried out “defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region”, noting that “these facilities are utilised by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq”. Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted that “we took necessary, appropriate, deliberate action that is designed to limit the risk of escalation, but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message”. An Iraqi defence official argued that the operation constituted “a blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty”, and Iran’s foreign ministry maintained that the U.S. was “upsetting security in the region”. Later in the day, a spokesperson for the U.S.-led counter-ISIS coalition confirmed that “U.S. Forces in Syria were attacked by multiple rockets”, with no casualties reported, and subsequently announced that “U.S. Forces in Syria, while under multiple rocket attack, acted in self-defence and conducted counter-battery artillery fire at rocket launching positions”.
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