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WASHINGTON – US troops killed several Iran-supported terrorists in a retaliatory airstrike Tuesday after they targeted American forces in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
“I can confirm an attack last night by Iran-backed militias using a close-range ballistic missile against US and coalition forces at Al Asad airbase in Iraq,” deputy Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters.
The terrorist attack caused “several non-serious injuries and some minor damage to infrastructure,” she said.
In response, the US used an AC-130 gunship – a heavily armed and highly capable ground-attack aircraft – to “immediately” target a vehicle near the base that was associated with the militants, according to Singh.
The AC-130 was already in the air when the initial attack occurred and its crew was “able to keep an eye on the movement of these militants as they moved into their vehicles,” she said.
“The militants were targeted because the the AC-130 was able to determine the point of origin from where the close-range ballistic missiles were fired,” Singh said.
While a formal investigation is underway, the spokesperson could not say which Iran proxy group carried out the attack or how many militants were killed in the strike.
The attack and response come after US forces in the Middle East have come under relentless attack since the Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel and the resulting war in Gaza.
Since Oct. 17, American troops have been attacked 66 times – 32 in Iraq and 34 in Syria, Singh said.
“US personnel have sustained approximately 62 injuries, but this does not include any injuries from last night’s attack as they are still being evaluated,” she said.
Most of the injuries have been minor, though more than 20 have involved traumatic brain injuries.
The US has undertaken three previous retaliatory strikes — on Oct. 26, Nov. 8 and Nov. 12.
However, the Tuesday strike is believed to be the first that resulted in casualties.
Asked why the responsive attacks have not deterred Iranian proxies from continuing strikes on US forces, Singh said the Pentagon does not “want to see this conflict widen out.”
“I wouldn’t say that it’s not working,” she said.
“I would say that we are being very deliberate in our strikes.”
“We will respond when we feel at the time and place of our choosing that we need to respond,” she added.
“We have three times already, we did again last night.”