US accuses Iran of directing attacks against American toops
Late last night we brought you news that US forces had struck a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups.
The White House has provided an update, saying the strikes aimed to deter Iranian-backed separatists from targeting American personnel in the region.
“We know that it had a practical impact on their ability to arm these groups, but also to send a strong signal of deterrence,” spokesman John Kirby told CNN.
“These groups have a choice to make: If they want to continue to attack our troops in Iraq and Syria, then they’re gonna have to face the consequences for that.”
He said: “We know that the IRGC is involved directly with helping these groups make some of the decisions that they’re doing and, in fact, directing some of these attacks.”
Iran has denied involvement, with its ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, saying separatist groups were responding to Israel’s assault on Gaza.
“It is a natural reaction by the resistance groups. It is their own decision and by their own direction,” Mr Iravani said in an interview with CNN.
Explained: US and coalition troops have been attacked at least 40 times in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed forces since the start of October.
Forty-five US troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries or minor wounds.
Yesterday’s retaliation was not the first – with American forces carrying out a strike in the region on 26 October.