Biden appears to be attempting to compartmentalize defensive strikes in order to protect American personnel while also engaging Tehran in diplomacy.

The US announced on Sunday that it had launched another round of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran-backed militias, this time in response to drone attacks by the militia on US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

The US military said in a statement that it targeted operational and weapons storage facilities in two locations in Syria and one in Iraq. It did not say whether anyone was killed or injured, but officials said that investigations were ongoing.

President Joe Biden ordered the strikes, the second time since taking office five months ago that he has ordered retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militias. In February, Biden ordered limited strikes in Syria in response to rocket attacks in Iraq.

"As evidenced by tonight's strikes, President Biden has made it clear that he will act to protect American personnel," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The strikes occurred as Biden's administration considers whether to resurrect a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Biden appears to be attempting to compartmentalize defensive strikes in order to protect American personnel while also engaging Tehran in diplomacy.

His detractors argue that Iran can't be trusted, citing the drone attacks as proof that Iran and its proxies will never accept a US military presence in Iraq or Syria.

On Sunday, Biden and the White House declined to comment on the strikes.

Officials in the United States believe Iran is behind an increase in drone attacks and periodic rocket fire in Iraq, where the US military has been assisting Baghdad in combating the Islamic State's remnants.

Since April, Iran-backed militias have carried out at least five drone attacks against facilities used by the US and coalition personnel in Iraq, according to two US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The facilities targeted, according to the Pentagon, were used by Iran-backed militias Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

According to a defense official, one of the facilities targeted was used to launch and recover drones.

Officials said the US military used F-15 and F-16 aircraft to carry out the strikes, and that the pilots returned safely from the mission.

One of the officials told, "We assess each strike hit the intended targets."

Iraq's government is grappling with militias ideologically aligned with Iran, which are accused of firing rockets at US forces and assassinating peaceful pro-democracy activists.

After authorities found insufficient evidence against Iran-aligned militia commander Qasim Muslih, who was arrested in May on terrorism-related charges, Iraq released him in June.


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