An AC-130 gunship responded immediately, targeting a vehicle and eliminating an unidentified hostile force. Later, two facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group in Iraq came under precision airstrikes.
A US official revealed that the AC-130 gunship acted in defense, aiming to neutralize the threat.
The US Central Command stated that the airstrikes were a direct response to the attacks by Iran and Iran-backed groups, particularly the November 21 incident involving close-range ballistic missiles.
[The airstrikes 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.- US Central Command
The airstrikes targeted Kataib Hezbollah's operations center and command and control node near Al Anbar and Jurf al Saqr, resulting in the destruction of the intended facilities.
Kataib Hezbollah personnel were present during the strikes, but a casualty assessment is pending.
Initial evaluation of the strikes indicate that US forces successfully destroyed the intended facilities. Additionally, we can confirm the presence of Kataib Hezbollah personnel. We’re unable to provide a casualty assessment at this time.- US defence official
Kataib Hezbollah reported at least eight fighters killed and four wounded due to the US strikes. The group condemned the bombing, vowing retaliation and an expanded scope of targets if the perceived aggressioncontinues.
The crime of the American bombing of the Popular Mobilization Forces headquarters at dawn today, in which eight people became martyrs, will not go unpunished, which requires expanding the scope of targets if the enemy continues its criminal approach.- Kataib Hezbollah statement
Two fighter jets released missiles
The Iraqi government denounced the airstrikes, labeling them a violation of sovereignty. While criticizing the US actions, government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi also condemned the Iran-backed groups for engaging in activities outside the military institution.
These strikes mark the first in Iraq since the series of attacks on US and coalition forces began on October 17. The broader context includes at least 66 attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, with tensions escalating since Hamas' attack on Israel.
The Pentagon maintains that the US has successfully deterred further escalation beyond Israel and Gaza, despite ongoing attacks on its forces.
The recent retaliatory actions underscore the US commitment to responding to threats against its personnel and interests in the region.
In response to a close-range ballistic missile attack on Al-Asad Airbase, the US military initiated a series of retaliatory actions, including an AC-130 gunship response and precision airstrikes on Kataib Hezbollah facilities.
The strikes, marking the first in Iraq since October, resulted in casualties on the Iran-backed group's side.
The Iraqi government condemned the airstrikes, citing a violation of sovereignty. Amid escalating tensions in the region, the US emphasizes its commitment to deterring further aggression against its forces and interests.