Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militias, known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic, said Monday that US airstrikes had “resulted in the martyrdom of a group of heroic fighters” near the Syria border and threatened revenge.
“We will remain the shield defending our beloved nation, and we are fully ready... to respond and take revenge” following the strikes announced Sunday by the Pentagon, which a monitor said had killed at least five Iran-backed militia fighters.
The strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, the Pentagon said.
“As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect US personnel,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The strikes came even as Biden’s administration is looking to potentially revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The strikes appear to show Biden’s efforts to compartmentalize defensive strikes to protect American personnel, while simultaneously engaging Tehran in diplomacy.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had reported that “at least five” Iraqi fighters were killed and several wounded in strikes on the Syrian side of the frontier.
The war monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria to collect information, said that military positions were among the targets hit.
Since the start of the year there have been more than 40 attacks against US interests in Iraq, where 2,500 American troops are deployed as part of an international coalition to fight the extremist ISIS.