The US military carried out airstrikes on three sites used by the Iraq-based Kataib Hezbollah and “affiliated groups” on Monday night after an attack injured three US troops, leaving one in critical condition, the White House said.
A US Central Command statement said early assessments showed that the US airstrikes, ordered by President Joe Biden, “likely killed a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants.”
The Iranian-backed militant group earlier claimed credit for using a one-way attack drone to target the US troops on Erbil Air Base on Monday morning, the White House said.
A statement from US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the US airstrikes on “three locations utilized by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities.”
The strikes on the Kataib Hezbollah facilities happened at 8:45 p.m. ET, according to CENTCOM. “There are no indications that any civilian lives were affected,” the statement said.
Kataib Hezbollah is a Shia militant group that “poses a high threat” to US troops in both Iraq and Syria, according to the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) website.
It says the group wants to expel US and coalition troops from Iraq and set up an Iranian-aligned government there. The group also works in Syria, the DNI says.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told the president on Monday afternoon, the White House said. Several choices were presented to the president, and Biden ordered the strikes during that call.
In a statement, Austin said Monday’s airstrikes were carried out in response to the Erbil attack and other attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria.
Austin called the US bombings “necessary and proportionate.”