In retaliation to a series of rocket attacks on US-led coalition bases in the last few weeks, the US military carried out airstrikes in five locations in Iraq and Syria targeting multiple weapons and munitions depots linked to Iran, on Sunday.
“In response to repeated Kata'ib Hizbollah (KH) attacks on Iraqi bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces, US forces have conducted precision defensive strikes against five KH facilities in Iraq and Syria that will degrade KH's ability to conduct future attacks against OIR coalition forces,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
According to the Department of Defense, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) was established in October 2014 “in order to formalize military actions against the rising threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.” On December 27, a 30-plus rocket attack on Iraqi military base in Kirkuk hosting Coalition troops resulted in the death of a US citizen and injured four US service members and two members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).
The five targets include three KH locations in Iraq and two in Syria. These locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that KH uses to plan and execute attacks on OIR coalition forces, the Pentagon said, adding that “KH has strong linkage with Iran's Quds Force and has repeatedly received lethal aid and other support from Iran that it has used to attack OIR coalition forces.”
Meanwhile, tripartite naval drills between Iran, Russia and China codenamed “Marine Security Belt” that kicked off on Friday, will be concluded on Monday.
“The epoch of the US, whose actions are aimed at sowing discord [in the region] is over. There is no need for foreign powers to be present in the region, and Iran is ready to cooperate on this matter with neighboring countries. Washington should leave the region as soon as possible,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told IRNA news agency.