- The Washington Times - Monday, March 1, 2021

A U.S. airstrike last week on a remote compound in Syria near the border with Iraq killed one member of an Iranian-backed militia and wounded two other members.

The strike came as a response to an earlier missile barrage that landed in Erbil in northern Iraq and killed a Filipino contractor working with American personnel and wounded six others, including a U.S. National Guard soldier.

The compound that was hit by a pair of U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles was a border control point used by several militant groups working closely with Iran, including the Kataib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS,) officials said.

“We’re not going to tolerate attacks on our people and our Iraqi partners,” chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday while confirming the number of pro-Iran militants killed and wounded in the U.S. response mission.

The retaliatory mission also destroyed nine buildings at the site and heavily damaged at least two others, officials said.

The Biden administration wanted their response to be calculated and done at a scale of response to avoid any escalation.

But an explosion in the Gulf of Oman that heavily damaged an Israeli-owned cargo is causing additional concern. While the investigation is continuing, some fingers are already pointing at Tehran as responsible. 

The Jewish Institute for National Security of America, a Washington-based think tank, says Biden might not have done enough to dissuade future attacks from further Iranian aggression. 

“Already, Iran appears to be testing whether Biden is actually resolved to protect not just U.S. personnel but also the assets of U.S. partners,” JINSA officials said in a statement. 

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