Al-Asad Airbase Hit by Missile Attack: Multiple U.S. Service Members Injured, Pentagon Reports 2024-04-20 12:34:14

"Missile Attack Hits Al-Asad Airbase: Multiple U.S. Service Members Injured in Iranian-Backed Militia Assault, Pentagon Confirms"

In a concerning development, several U.S. service members faced injuries in a ballistic missile attack on Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq, orchestrated by Iranian-backed militias, according to statements from Pentagon officials on Monday. The attack occurred Sunday night and involved a close-range ballistic missile, resulting in eight injuries and minor infrastructural damage, as reported by Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson.

In response to the assault, the U.S. military carried out a retaliatory strike that was not pre-planned, leading to the deaths of several Iranian-backed militia personnel, as revealed by CBS News. Brig. Gen. Ryder stated, "Immediately following the attack, a U.S. military AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defense strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iranian-backed militia personnel involved in this attack."

U.S. Central Command, via a tweet, emphasized that the U.S. gunship maintained visual confirmation of the individuals from the launch to the engagement. Subsequently, additional "precision strikes" were executed against two facilities in Iraq early Wednesday morning local time, directly responding to the attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces.

The wounded U.S. service members are currently undergoing evaluation, with a Pentagon official noting that this incident marked the 66th attack against American-affiliated military bases in Iraq and Syria since October 17. This surge in attacks raises international concerns, particularly amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, fueling fears of a broader regional escalation.

While Iranian-backed groups have previously targeted U.S. forces with a mix of drones and rockets, this recent attack stands out as the first instance of a short-range missile being used against American troops since October 17. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh highlighted that of the 66 attacks in the last month, 32 occurred in Iraq and 34 in Syria, resulting in approximately 62 U.S. personnel injuries, excluding those from the most recent attack.

Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian addressed the situation, stating that the groups in Iraq and Syria making these attacks have made their own decisions, deflecting questions about Iran's backing of militant groups in the Middle East. The escalating frequency and intensity of these attacks underscore the volatile nature of the region, warranting continued attention and diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of the conflict.

"We have not taken anything off the table or ruled anything out," emphasized Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh when questioned about the possibility of U.S. preemptive strikes to prevent further attacks. Singh stated, "We feel that we have taken appropriate action to decimate some of their facilities and some of their weapons, but again, we always reserve the right to respond at the time and place of our choosing."

This statement underscores the U.S. commitment to maintaining flexibility in its response strategy, indicating a readiness to employ various measures to safeguard national interests and the safety of its personnel. The recent retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militia personnel and facilities demonstrate a proactive approach in the face of escalating attacks.

Last month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated the U.S. stance, emphasizing that the country does not seek conflict and has no intention or desire to engage in further hostilities. However, Austin highlighted the unacceptability of Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces, calling for an end to such actions.

As the situation unfolds, the statements reflect the delicate balance the U.S. seeks to maintain — demonstrating resolve in responding to threats while expressing a preference for diplomatic solutions and de-escalation. The contributions of Eleanor Watson and Mary Walsh to this reporting provide additional context to the evolving dynamics in the region. S. Dev, the news editor for, offers insights into the ongoing developments surrounding this critical issue.

In conclusion, the recent missile attack on Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq and subsequent actions by the U.S. military highlight the escalating tensions in the region. The injured U.S. service members and the retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militia personnel underscore the gravity of the situation.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh's statement regarding keeping all options on the table emphasizes the U.S. commitment to ensuring the safety of its personnel and responding decisively to threats. The stance reflects a strategic approach, balancing proactive measures with a willingness to engage diplomatically.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's assertion that the United States does not seek conflict but deems Iranian-backed attacks unacceptable underscores the desire for a peaceful resolution. The delicate balance between demonstrating resolve and seeking diplomatic avenues becomes increasingly crucial as the situation unfolds.

The contributions of Eleanor Watson and Mary Walsh, along with the insights from S. Dev, provide valuable context to the evolving dynamics in the region. As the international community closely monitors the developments, the potential for further hostilities and the pursuit of diplomatic solutions remain at the forefront of discussions, highlighting the need for ongoing attention and strategic decision-making in the days to come.


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