Assaults against Iraqi terrorist groups have been initiated by US Central Command (CENTCOM). Three US service members were wounded on Christmas Day in terrorist attacks, prompting the airstrikes. According to the Biden administration, the “precision strikes” were effective and did not harm any civilians. They also issued a warning that they will be employed again in the event that terrorists launch another attack.
US Base Hit by Drone
Terrorists using a kamikaze drone attacked the US airbase in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on December 25. Kataib Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed militia that was established after the 2003 Iraq war. The assault wounded three American service members, with one being in severe condition.
Terrorist strikes on US bases in Iraq and Syria have recently escalated, with militias tied to Iran carrying out each raid. Strikes on three Kataib Hezbollah facilities were carried out by US forces in response. In November, the group assaulted the Al-Asad airbase, prompting the USAF to counterattack with an AC-130 gunship. A video purportedly showing the aftermath of the strike does not disclose any details regarding its execution.
Aircraft like this, based out of Al-Asad, are perfect for missions requiring pinpoint accuracy—the kind of strikes where collateral damage might be catastrophic—thanks to their sensors and weapons. Aircraft sensor operators may keep an eye on the target in real-time up until the guns are fired, enabling the pilot to avoid harming bystanders, unlike in a cruise missile or conventional airstrike.
A Delicate Strategy
Retaliation on bases utilized by Kataib Hezbollah “and affiliated groups” was “necessary and proportionate,” according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who spoke after the raids. Saying that the objective was to “disrupt and degrade” Iranian proxy forces within Iraq, he assured that the troops would be protected without hesitation by the Biden administration. The Central Command reported in a separate statement that the attacks likely resulted in the deaths of other terrorists. General Michael Erik Kurilla, the US spokesperson, informed reporters that the response aimed to diminish the ability of terror groups to carry out attacks and to hold them accountable.
After suffering heavy losses in its current fight with Israel in the Gaza Strip, Iran is eager to relieve pressure by inflaming the conflict more; it has ties to numerous groups it can utilize for this purpose. The US administration is aiming to prevent further attacks on US troops without giving Iran the escalation it wants by responding with limited and precision strikes.