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U.S. airstrikes target Iranian-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden on Thursday ordered airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militant groups, the Pentagon said. This is the Biden administration's first military action.

The strikes were in response to several rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq, including one earlier this month in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. This attack killed one non-American civilian contractor and injured a U.S. service member and several American contractors.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the strikes destroyed several facilities at a "border control point" used by the Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militant groups. "President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel," Kirby stated. "At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

A U.S. official told Reuters by having airstrikes that were limited in scope, Biden sent a message to the Iranian-backed militias without sparking a bigger conflict. Kata'ib Hezbollah is the primary Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, and earlier this week the group said it wasn't behind any of the recent rocket attacks.