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US strikes Iranian-backed militia facilities in Iraq and Syria

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Dec 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-29 14:11:56-05

WASHINGTON — US forces conducted strikes in Iraq and Syria against five facilities tied to an Iranian-backed militia blamed for a series of attacks on joint US-Iraq military facilities housing American forces.

The strikes, announced Sunday, are the first significant military response in retaliation for those attacks, which have injured numerous American military personnel.

The group is known as Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-sponsored Shia militia group.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman described the strikes as “precision defensive strikes” that “will degrade” the group’s ability to conduct future attacks against coalition forces.

The US said the five targets include three Kataib Hezbollah locations in Iraq and two in Syria. The Pentagon said those locations included weapon storage facilities and command and control locations that the group uses “to plan and execute attacks on OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve) coalition forces.”

American officials have blamed the group for such attacks like the one on Friday on a base near Kirkuk, Iraq, that killed a US civilian contractor and injured four other US service members.

The Pentagon’s Hoffman repeated assertions that this group has links to Iranian forces.

“KH has a 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,” Hoffman said.

The White House had no additional comment when reached by CNN on Sunday.

This story is breaking and will be updated.