Report: Biden Settles On His Iran Retaliation

US will reportedly strike Iranian targets, but not those inside the country itself
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2024 5:54 AM CST
Updated Feb 2, 2024 7:00 AM CST
Report: US Approves Strikes on Iran-Linked Targets
This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows a military base known as Tower 22 in northeastern Jordan.   (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

The US has approved a series of strikes in response to the drone attack that killed three service members in Jordan last weekend, CBS News reports, citing US officials—but the plan is to hit Iran-linked facilities in Iraq and Syria, not targets in Iran itself. The officials say the timing of the strikes will depend on the weather because the military wants to have good visibility as a safeguard against inadvertently hitting civilians. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that while the US wants to avoid a "wider conflict" in the Middle East, "we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests and our people, and we will respond when we choose, where we choose, and how we choose."

The Jordan strike, the latest in a series of attacks from Iran-backed militias in the region, also injured dozens of US personnel. Hawks in Congress have called for a strike inside Iran, something Tehran reportedly sees as a "red line." Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi warned Friday that the US could face a "strong response," Al Jazeera reports. "We will not start any war but if anyone wants to bully us they will receive a strong response," Raisi said.

Iran has denied responsibility for the drone attack, which was claimed by a coalition of Iran-backed groups called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. Kataib Hezbollah, one of the groups in the coalition, said Wednesday that it was suspending attacks on US forces. Sources tell Reuters that Iran's Revolutionary Guards have started pulling senior officers from Syria following the deaths of several commanders in Israel strikes. (More US military stories.)

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