Biden Says U.S. Strike in Syria Was ‘Be Careful’ Warning to Iran
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said U.S. airstrikes in Syria that killed militants linked to Iran were a warning to the Islamic Republic to be cautious as its proxies challenge American allies in the Mideast.
Asked while visiting a National Guard vaccination site in Houston what message the strike was intended to send to Iran, Biden said: “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful.”
At least 22 Iraqi militants allied with Iran were killed and three ammunition trucks were destroyed in the attack, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers information from a network of activists on the ground in Syria.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. destroyed nine facilities and damaged two others.
The Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement that the attack sent a “negative indication about the new U.S. administration’s policy” and that such attacks could escalate tensions in the region. Meantime, Biden’s administration found itself on the defense against Democrats who demanded a public explanation and legal justification for the action.
Kirby said the sites that were struck were connected to Iranian-backed groups believed to be involved with recent attacks on facilities in Iraq used by the U.S., including a rocket strike that killed a contractor working with the American-led coalition.
“We’re confident that these were legitimate targets utilized by groups associated with these recent attacks,” Kirby said in a briefing on Friday. The strikes sent an “unambiguous message” that “we will defend ourselves, that we will protect our interests. We are certainly going to act to defend our people,” he said.
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