The United States has led a major wave of retaliation in the Middle East, striking dozens of targets belonging to armed groups backed by Iran since Friday. The strikes represent a sharp escalation of hostilities in the region, something President Biden has sought to avoid since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza began in October.
See how the latest strikes have unfolded.
January 28: Three US service members were killed and dozens wounded in a drone attack on their remote military outpost in Jordan, the Pentagon said. They were the first known US military deaths by enemy fire in the Middle East since October, when regional tensions rose with the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
The Biden administration said the drone was launched by an Iranian-backed militia from Iraq, and Mr. Biden has vowed to respond. The US has accused armed groups backed by Iran of launching more than 150 attacks since October on US troops stationed in the Middle East.
January 30: Mr. Biden said he had decided to respond to the attack in Jordan, but did not say what it would be. Some Republican lawmakers have called for an immediate strike against Iran, but Mr. Biden’s advisers have said he is determined to avoid a wider regional conflict.
Friday: The United States has carried out airstrikes on more than 85 targets in Syria and Iraq, targeting Iranian-backed forces, including the group it said was responsible for the attack in Jordan. The Pentagon said the strikes targeted command and control operations, intelligence centers, weapons facilities and warehouses used by the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated militia groups.
U.S. officials said afterward that Mr. Biden had not seriously considered striking inside Iran, and that by targeting facilities used by the powerful Quds Force while not trying to remove its leadership, the United States sought to signal that it did not want all – out of war.
Saturday: US and British warplanes, backed by six allies, launched strikes on dozens of locations in Yemen controlled by Houthi fighters. A joint statement by the allies said the targets included weapons storage facilities, missile launchers, air defense systems and radars and that the strikes were intended to deter Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping.
Sunday: Shortly after the Houthis said they would respond to the US and British strikes, US forces said they had carried out another attack on the group, destroying a cruise missile that posed “a direct threat to US naval vessels and commercial vessels in the area.” “