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US launches airstrike on site in Syria in response to attacks by Iranian-backed militias


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AP

LOLITA C. BALDOR
Updated 5:05 PM CST, November 8, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. launched an airstrike on a facility in eastern Syria linked to Iranian-backed militias, in retaliation for what has been a growing number of attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in the region for the past several weeks, the Pentagon said.

The strike by two U.S. F-15 fighter jets was on a weapons storage facility linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

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This is the second time in less than two weeks that the U.S. has bombed facilities used by the militant groups, many operating under the umbrella of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which U.S. officials say have carried out at least 40 such attacks since Oct. 17.

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Houthis shoot down U.S. MQ-9 Reaper off Yemeni coast
Joe Truzman & Bill Roggio

November 8, 2023

Ansar Allah, the Iran-backed militia in Yemen that is better known as the Houthis, shot down an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 Reaper in international waters off the coast of Yemen today, U.S. officials have confirmed. The Houthis have claimed credit for the attack on the Reaper and published a video it says showing the UAV being shot down.

“Yemeni air defenses shot down an American MQ9 drone while it was carrying out hostile missions in support of the Israeli enemy entity on November 8, 2023,” the Houthis claimed.

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The Houthis control nearly all of northern Yemen, including the capital of Sana’a, possess advanced weapons such as ballistic and cruise missiles, and is estimated to have 100,000 fighters under arms. The official motto of the Houthis is: “God is great, death to the U.S., death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.”

Iran is leveraging its network of militias in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to put pressure on Israel as well as the U.S. The Houthis, as well as the Iraqi and Syrian militias which number in the hundreds of thousands, can serve as a strategic reserve and a force multiplier as the war on Israel’s northern border heats up. These militias are battle-hardened by years of fighting the U.S. in Iraq as well as against Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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BREAKING: Four new attacks on US troops in Syria and Iraq since yesterday’s airstrikes

Nov. 9 2023

According to Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin, there have been four new attacks on US troops since yesterday’s airstrikes taking out an Iranian weapons facility in Syria.

Griffin says three of the attacks have been in Syria and one in Iraq. Only three servicemen have received minor injuries:

Since US carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria last night, 4 new attacks by Iranian proxies against US bases; 3 US troops received minor injuries at Green Village in Syria: US official. US troops in armored personnel carrier hit IED near Mosul – no US injuries.

— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) November 9, 2023

 

NEW: 3 attacks against US troops in Syria, 1 in Iraq since US F15s carried out airstrikes against IRGC warehouse. https://t.co/0bR02kNdCD

— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) November 9, 2023

There have been reports of a fire at the US base in Erbil, Iraq after a drone attack. Here’s the video going around:

 

The American military base al-Harir in Erbil, Iraq, is under the fire of the Resistance Forces pic.twitter.com/FqZnrr0zXP

— Iran Observer (@IranObserver0) November 9, 2023

 
However Griffin says that US defense official say there is NO evidence of flames erupting at the base.

Urge caution: despite tweets and local reports of fire being seen at the US military base in Erbil, Iraq today, US defense officials say there is no evidence of flames erupting at the base.

— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) November 9, 2023

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U.S. military strikes Iranian facilities in Syria
Joe Truzman & Bill Roggio

November 13, 2023

The U.S. military launched its third round of airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria in response to repeated attacks by Iran-backed militias against U.S. forces fighting against the Islamic State in the region. The attack is thought to have killed a handful of Iranian proxy militiamen.

“U.S. military forces conducted precision strikes today on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to continued attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement released on Nov. 12. “The strikes were conducted against a training facility and a safe house near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin, respectively.”

Six or seven “Iranian proxy fighters” were killed in the strike on the safe house, which is also used as a militia headquarters, Fox News‘ Jennifer Griffin reported.

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Previously, Austin framed the strikes in Syria as an attempt to dissuade Iran and its militia proxies from launching further strikes. Austin described the strikes as “narrowly-tailored” and said they were intended to deter Iran and its militias from further attacking U.S. bases. Austin then softened the message of deterrence by stating that “The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities …” Additionally, Austin attempted to delink the strikes in U.S. Syria from Israel’s war with Hamas. The militias have not been deterred and have continued to target U.S. forces in the region while stating they attacks are in support of Hamas’ war with Israel.

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Israel acknowledges fight on a third front: Mounting diplomatic pressure
Seth Frantzman

November 13, 2023

Pressure is mounting on Israel in a new way as the country prepares to do battle on a third front: diplomatically. Yes, Israel is concentrating on defeating Hamas in Gaza. And Hezbollah is also increasing attacks in northern Israel. But Israel also faces a potential challenge. Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Monday that “from a diplomatic point of view, we recognize that pressure has begun to bear on Israel. The pressure is not very high [now], but it is increasing.”

Cohen indicated the pressure would increase in the next two or three weeks. Humanitarian aid for Gaza increased over the weekend as Saudi Arabia and the UAE sent aid to Egypt’s Al-Arish airport. France also mobilized support of humanitarian assistance.  

Israel has continued to take casualties in the meantime. An Israeli electric worker was killed after an attack on Sunday. Several other civilians were also wounded, and IDF soldiers were wounded. Further attacks continued on Monday. Hezbollah launched rockets, anti-tank missiles, and mortars. The multi-front conflict puts Israel in a difficult position. The Israeli leadership and defense establishment want to concentrate on defeating Hamas, according to statements to Hebrew media on Monday. Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups seek to drag Israel into a larger conflict. These groups also targeted U.S. forces in the region with fifty attacks since Oct. 7. 

Increased attacks in northern Israel also took place amid decreased rocket launches from Gaza. Israel entrenched in northern Gaza and surrounded Hamas in Gaza City over the last two weeks. Hamas has depleted its rocket supply and may be forced to fire rockets only from southern Gaza in the coming weeks. The full picture lacks clarity, but the number of incidents is clear. Hezbollah attacks increased, and Hamas rocket launches decreased. 

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U.S. military launches second strike in Iraq in response to attacks by Iranian-backed militias
Joe Truzman & Bill Roggio

November 22, 2023

The U.S. military attacked Iranian-backed militias at two sites south of Baghdad on Wednesday after its base in western Iraq was targeted with “close-range ballistic missiles.” When announcing the strikes, the U.S. military accused Iran of directly carrying out attacks on U.S. forces.

According to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), U.S. air assets “conducted discrete, precision strikes against two facilities in Iraq.” A U.S. military official told FDD’s Long War Journal that the “facilities” were located in Jurf al-Nasr (formerly known as Jufr al-Sakhar), a town about 60 miles south of Baghdad that is a known hub for Iranian-backed militias.

“The strikes were in direct response to the attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces by Iran and Iran-backed groups, including the one in Iraq on November 21, which involved use of close-range ballistic missiles,” CENTCOM stated.

The attack is the second by the U.S. military in Iraq in 24 hours, and takes place as the militias have stepped up attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. On Tuesday, a U.S. AC-130 gunship destroyed a vehicle that was involved in attacks against U.S. forces based at the Ain al-Asad Air Base in Anbar province. One member of Hezbollah Brigades, one of the larger and more dangerous militias created by Iran, was confirmed killed in the strike.

There have been over 60 attacks on U.S. based in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17. Nearly all of those attacks have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI), which was established in 2020 to serve as a clearinghouse for smaller Iran-backed militias.

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