- Iran-backed militias carried out multiple attacks on US personnel in Iraq and Syria, Reuters reported.
- Two U.S. servicemen were injured in one of at least six attacks.
- “The continued attack by Iran-backed militias on US personnel in Iraq cannot be tolerated,” GOP Senator Jim Inhofe told Politico.
Republican lawmakers said President Joe Biden is not responding strongly enough after numerous attacks on US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed militias, Politico reported.
In the past week, at least six missile and drone strikes have targeted US troops and diplomats. For example, two US servicemen were injured on Wednesday when at least 14 missiles hit an Iraqi air base that houses US troops, Reuters reported.
Politico reported that this week’s exchanges are the latest in a long series of back-and-forth attacks between the US and Iran-backed militias.
Biden has worked to be less involved with the region to focus on coping with the coronavirus pandemic, and Republicans have been critical of the minimal approach.
“The continued attack by Iran-backed militias on American personnel in Iraq cannot be tolerated,” Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement to Politico. “President Biden must propose a real strategy to deter and end these attacks, rather than continue his bare minimum approach that will not deter Iran or its militias and endanger American lives.”
Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, under former President Donald Trump, Mick Mulroy told Politico that “Iran needs to know that they cannot hide behind their proxy forces.”
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Biden ordered airstrikes on Iran-backed militias on the Iraq-Syria border late last month, as well as in February after attacks on US personnel, but faced backlash from progressives.
“I will be briefed on the impending damage to our troops that the president is tasked with protecting and why the administration felt this was necessary for self-defense,” California Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told Insider’s John Haltiwanger last month. “However, what this shows is the need for a broader strategy to bring our troops home so they are not at risk and to de-escalate tensions with Iran.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US is evaluating a response.
“Of course very concerned. We take the safety and security of our people abroad very seriously. And you have seen us retaliate appropriately when that safety is threatened,” Kirby said.