The attacks are the beginning of a reprisal for the death of three American soldiers at a base in Jordan | Photo: Roberto SCHMIDT / AFP
The United States Army has carried out airstrikes against elite Iranian forces and pro-Iran groups in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the deaths of three soldiers at a base in Jordan.
“The airstrikes used more than 125 pieces of precision ammunition,” the United States Central Command for the Middle East (Centcom) said on social media.
Centcom specified that the targets included command and intelligence centers as well as rocket, missile and drone storage facilities belonging to Iranian militias and forces “that facilitated attacks against United States and coalition forces.”
Joe Biden had promised to respond to the deadly drone attack that occurred on Sunday near the border with Syria and attributed by Washington to groups backed by Iran.
The Pentagon clarified that Friday’s attacks mobilized several combat aircraft, including long-range bombers, and targeted more than 85 objectives.
A White House spokesperson called the attacks “successful”, which targeted a total of 85 targets in seven locations, three in Iraq and four in Syria, and lasted “approximately 30 minutes.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) indicated that “at least 18 pro-Iranian fighters died” in bombings in eastern Syria.
In recent days, the White House has stated that Biden is not in favor of a regional escalation or an open conflict with Iran, so the retaliations will be multiple, against different targets and staggered over time.
“We are not looking for a war with Iran”, stressed, this Friday, the spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, who stated that the Iraqi government was informed in advance of the American air strikes.
American forces in the Middle East have been the target of numerous attacks since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The bombings took place on the same day that the bodies of William Jerome Rivers, Kennedy Ladon Sanders and Breonna Alexondria Moffett, soldiers from the state of Georgia (south) who died in a drone attack near the border with Syria, were received with military honors at the base of Dover (Delaware, northeast).
Following a military ritual to the millimeter, the coffins left one by one a military transport plane and were placed in a vehicle. The Army also took care of the language: the maneuver is called a “solemn transfer” instead of a ceremony and mentioned “boxes” instead of “coffins”.
The “solemn transfer” took place in the presence of the first lady, Jill Biden, and high-ranking officials, such as Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.
Beyond the military rigor is the emotion and pain of the families who saw, for the first time, the coffins with the remains of their loved ones.
In the same location, Joe and Jill Biden watched the repatriation of the bodies of American soldiers killed in an attack at Kabul airport, on August 26, 2021, during the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Democrat, whose life was marked by personal tragedies, has a reputation for being very empathetic with grieving families.
He called each of the families of the three soldiers killed in Jordan, among other things, to make sure they accepted his presence at the repatriation ceremony.
Georgia’s leading newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, released a video of one of those conversations.
“I know that nothing anyone can say or do can ease your pain, I went through it (…) I want you to know that you are in my prayers, in my heart”, said the president to the parents of soldier Kennedy Sanders.
“I got one of those calls,” added Joe Biden, referring to the death in a car accident of his first wife and baby daughter in 1972.
He also spoke about the death of his eldest son, Beau, who died of cancer in 2015.
This moment will not put an end to the avalanche of Republican criticism against him.
“He had to wait for people to die before he said, ‘OK, maybe we need to do something,’ are you kidding me?” Nikki Haley, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, attacked Thursday.
His rival, former President Donald Trump, the overwhelming favorite to be named Republican candidate, criticized Biden’s “weakness.”
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