WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden warned Iran on Friday that attacks on U.S. troops will be met with force. Iran, a Russian ally, has been on the opposing side of the U.S. efforts in Ukraine and Syria.
After a U.S. contractor was killed in Syria, U.S. F-15 fighter jets delivered two airstrikes at facilities associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, according to the Pentagon.
“The United States does not — emphasize does not — seek conflict with Iran, but be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people,” Biden said.
Two U.S. facilities in Syria were the target of new attacks late Friday night involving drones and rockets, a U.S. official told ABC News.
Biden was in Ottawa, Canada, to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he issued the warning to Iran.
The Pentagon announced that the U.S. military responded to the death of a U.S. contractor after a drone exploded on Thursday at a U.S. facility in Syria. Six others were injured, including five U.S. troops.
Biden authorized a military operation “to send a very clear message that we will take the protection of our personnel seriously and that we will respond quickly and decisively if they are threatened,” Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday during a news conference.
The Iranian-backed militias responded with “near-coordinated attacks on US positions in eastern Syria” on Friday, and injured a US service member, according to Charles Lister, the director of Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.
The civil war in Syria began over a decade ago. Russia and Iran support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. and the Syrian Kurdish have been fighting together against the Islamic State.
U.S. Central Command leader Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla reported during a hearing Thursday in Congress that there have been 78 Iranian proxy attacks on U.S. troops since 2021.
“It is periodic,” Kurilla said. “We see periods where they will do more.”
Related social media
NEW -- possible exchange of rocket/artillery fire between #Iran-linked forces & U.S. forces near the Conoco fields in Deir ez Zour, eastern #Syria.— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) March 24, 2023
Unclear who is firing.pic.twitter.com/1LPC1ICvhb
Below is a statement from US Central Command on a rocket attack targeting coalition forces that struck a civilian house, causing significant damage to the house and minor injuries to two women and two children. pic.twitter.com/XCgp6jZdWz— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) March 24, 2023
Local 10 News affiliate ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Torres contributed to this report from Miami.