Two US Air Force F-16 jets overnight Friday attacked a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage facility in eastern Syria that are used by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s proxy militias in the country. The attack was in retaliation for recent rocket and drone attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria.
The F-16s dropped precision-guided bombs on the two facilities, near Abu Kamal, a city on the Euphrates River in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate of eastern Syria near the border with Iraq.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a large cargo plane was landing in the Coalition base in the Koniko gas field in Deir Ezzor during the Iran-affiliated terrorists’ attack on the base, and two US soldiers were injured.
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III issued a statement saying, “These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups. The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against US forces are unacceptable and must stop.”
Austin stressed that the attacks were “separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict.”
He then warned: “If attacks by Iran’s proxies against US forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”
Pentagon officials told several news outlets that the attacks had not been coordinated with Israel.
The New York Times quoted Mick Mulroy, a former defense official and retired C.I.A. officer, who released a statement saying, “The US sent a message tonight. We will directly respond against Iran, and specifically, the IRGC, if they continue to attack our military positions and personnel in Iraq and Syria.”