Biden orders strike on Iranian-aligned group after 3 U.S. troops injured in Iraq

President Joe Biden has ordered retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militia groups following a drone attack in northern Iraq that resulted in three U.S. servicemembers being injured.

Immediate response: After the drone attack on Monday, one U.S. troop was critically injured.
* The Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups claimed responsibility for the attack.
* Upon learning of the attack, President Biden ordered the Pentagon and his top national security aides to prepare response options.

Decision process: Following consultations with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other top aides, Biden ordered strikes on three locations used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups.
* The U.S retaliatory strikes were executed around 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday, less than 13 hours after the initial attack on U.S. personnel.

Context of attacks: The drone attack follows months of escalating threats and actions against American forces in the region.
* Since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th, which ignited a war in Gaza, there has been a rise in violence by Iran’s network of proxy groups across the region.
* The Biden administration has sought to prevent a wider regional conflict, sometimes opting for a measured response rather than a counterattack for every incident.

Republican criticism: The administration’s measured response strategy has drawn criticism from Republicans.
* The U.S. has thousands of troops in Iraq training Iraqi forces and combating remnants of the Islamic State group, with these forces having experienced numerous attacks since the war began on October 7th with blame attributed to Iran-backed groups.
View original article on NPR
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