President Trump has authorized a U.S. military strike in retaliation for an Iranian-backed attack on American troops in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, the president has signed off on the use of lethal force against the Shia militia, who were allegedly behind the latest attack on Camp Taji.
“I have spoken with the president,” stated Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance.”
The airstrikes were launched against several targets belonging to the militia believed to be responsible for killing two Americans and one British soldier at the camp a day earlier. More than two dozen rockets were launched at the facility from a nearby truck, 18 of which reportedly hit the base. According to the defense secretary, the strike was carried out by an Iranian-backed Shia militia, which targeted coalition troops in the region. The two U.S. service members who were killed in the attack have not been publicly identified. Officials are working to inform their families.
The Kata’eb Hezbollah weapons facilities were struck, an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press.
According to various news reports, U.S. and coalition jets hit multiple targets in four of the country’s provinces. Earlier Thursday, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the top general commanding US forces in the Middle East, said the Kata’eb Hezbollah likely launched Wednesday night’s rocket attack on the Camp Taji base.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday also made clear the US knew who was behind Wednesday’s attack.
“We’re going to take this one step at a time, but we’ve got to hold the perpetrators accountable,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon, adding, “You don’t get to shoot at our bases and kill and wound Americans and get away with it.”