USA targeted Iran-backed militias with seven 500-pound bombs

Russia, ally of Syria, fumes at U.S. airstrike against militia group

The site was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks, but Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he was "confident" it was used by the same Iranian-backed Shia militias targeting United States and coalition forces in Iraq with rocket attacks.

"We're confident that these were legitimate targets that were utilized by groups associated with these recent attacks", Kirby said.

Psaki said the decision behind the strike - the first since Biden took office - was "deliberative" and the objective is "deescalating activity in both Syria and Iraq". In an interview with a local television network Thursday, Iraq's foreign minister, Fuad Hussein, said those calling themselves "the resistance" and launching rocket attacks in Iraq were no more than terrorists. In a statement, the group said one person had died in Friday's strike.

President Biden authorized the attack Thursday evening in response to a bombing attack last week on a base in northern Iraq that killed a Filipino contractor working with American forces and wounded six others, including a U.S. National Guardsman. She said "there was a thorough, legal response" and the Defense Department briefed congressional leadership in advance. "In the a year ago, Iraq has become a playground and battleground for this type of activity driven by the U.S. -Iran escalation", said Renad Mansour, the Iraq Initiative director at Chatham House, a London-based policy group. Senior Iraqi officials have said they expect a more nuanced policy by the Biden administration toward Iraq. Looming behind the question of the parameters of a new deal is the issue of Iran's destabilizing activities across the Middle East, which are particularly concerning to USA allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. All of these groups have received at least some financing, support and weaponry from Iran over the years, and all share its ideology of "resistance", or the struggle against Israel and USA interests in the region.

Representative Ro Khanna, who has repeatedly called for an end to the war in Yemen and sponsored legislation to halt former President Donald Trump's stated ambitions to take military action against Iran, said there was "absolutely no justification" for the Syria strike. The officials said the groups are linked to a February 15 rocket attack on a USA base in northern Iraq that killed a contractor working with the US military and injured an American service member.

Two Senate war powers critics, Democrats Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy, also spoke out on Friday over why Biden ordered the attack without first consulting them.

US House plans vote on COVID-19 aid bill on Friday
One of the most controversial provisions is the phased increase of the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. Should a single Democrat vote against the relief package it would prevent it from getting through a Senate split 50-50 by party.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden "has the right to take action in a manner of his choosing" and that the us strike was necessary and "pursuant to the right of self-defense".

Responding to a question on the legal authority of conducting the strikes in Syria, Psaki said as a matter of domestic law, the president took this action pursuant to his article two authority to defend United States personnel. Hussein is one of several Iraqi officials who have traveled to Iran in recent months to try to persuade it to use its influence to rein in militia forces. Mansour, who tracks armed groups in Iraq, said the newer groups appeared to be made up of fighters armed with weapons connected to the larger Iran-linked paramilitaries.

A ceasefire declared in September by Kataeb Hezbollah and other factions largely held until Biden's inauguration, but "it's not flawless", said Renad Mansour, director of the Iraq Initiative at the London-based Chatham House think tank.

The U.S. assessment that Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayed Al-Shuhadaa were behind the attacks on U.S. bases threatened to disrupt Washington's outreach to Tehran, especially because the Biden administration had conducted a number of good-faith gestures to re-engage in nuclear negotiations.

Republican members of Congress have praised the airstrike as a check on Iran's support for attacks against American personnel in Iraq through proxy groups. "The strikes were necessary to address the threat and proportionate to the prior attacks".

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