An attack on a US base in Iraq
After months of rocket attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq, the Biden administration’s newly appointed defense secretary decided to respond with more attacks.
America’s new defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, said the military was still assessing who launched the rocket attack on a US base in Iraq and that if it decided to return fire, it would do so again “at a time and place of our own choosing” while Iran “will assess our intentions”.
Earlier, Iran said it would “counter US plans to revive terrorism in the region”.
Austin on ABC’s This Week. Source: ABC
Austin told reporters on ABC’s “This Week,” which aired March 7, that the U.S. military is still assessing who was responsible for the rocket attack on the U.S. military’s Ain-Asad Air Base. The extent to which the U.S. military is concerned about Iran’s control over the Shiite militias is unclear, but the Pentagon has Iran on its mind and is considering its response to the latest attacks.
Mr Austin added that the US would “protect our forces”. If the United States decided to respond to an attack with force, it would respond again “at a time and place of our own choosing.” Mr Austin said that Iran, as the militia’s main backer, was “fully capable of assessing the intent of US air strikes” and drawing its own conclusions.
Austin said Iran should “choose to do the right thing,” adding: “You can expect that we will always hold people accountable for their actions.”
There have been a number of rocket attacks on American bases in Iraq recently. On March 3, at least 10 rockets landed at the US Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province. The attack killed an American civilian contractor at the coalition base. The base was hit by an Iranian ballistic missile in early 2020.
The attack came after U.S. President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia targets in Syria. Earlier, CCTV News quoted a Syrian military source as saying that from midnight on February 25 to around 0 o ‘clock on February 26, local time, the border area of Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, Syria and Iraq border area was hit by several air strikes.
A truck-modified rocket launcher used by Iraqi attackers was found by Iraqi security forces on March 3
U.S. military destroys facility in eastern Syria Source: U.S. Department of Defense
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman John Kirby said two US Air Force F-15E aircraft fired seven missiles, destroying nine facilities and severely damaging two others, all of which were “functionally destroyed”.
It was the first time the U.S. military has bombed Syria since Biden took office, and the first military action since he became president. The attack was thought to be a response to previous rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq.
In response to the U.S. attack, Iran accused the U.S. of supporting the Islamic State group by attacking Shi ‘ite militias and reinforcing regional terrorism. Ali Shamhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said late last month that “the attack against anti-terrorist resistance forces is the beginning of a new round of organized terrorism.”
He added that Iran would “confront US plans to revive terrorism in the region”.