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US launches airstrikes on Iran militia facilities in Syria

President Joe Biden authorized the F-16 strikes in a bid to put a halt to nearly 20 drone attacks targeting US bases in Iraq and Syria over the past week as Washington and Iran trade warnings amid Israel's impending invasion of Gaza.
A F18 Hornet fighter jet prepares to land on the deck of a US navy aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, May 8, 2018.

WASHINGTON — The US military launched airstrikes before dawn on Friday against two facilities it said were used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups in eastern Syria, marking a swift response to a series of recent local attacks that have injured 21 US personnel.

President Joe Biden authorized the strikes in response to a series of at least 19 rocket and drone barrages since Oct. 17 targeting US bases in Iraq and Syria that resulted in the death of an American civilian contractor and left other individuals with non-fatal wounds, including symptoms of traumatic brain injuries.

"The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against US forces are unacceptable and must stop," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement released following the strikes.

It remained unclear if any personnel were killed in the strikes, defense officials told reporters in the immediate aftermath. Officials, however, made clear that they considered Iran responsible for attacks by the militias it arms, funds and trains in the region. 

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