U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told ABC that Washington is ready, if necessary, to retaliate against the militants who attacked the base in Iraq.
According to the channel, at the beginning of March, the Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province in western Iraq was subjected to a rocket attack. As a result, no servicemen were wounded. However, one civilian allegedly died of a heart attack. The shelling came just days after the U.S. attack on Iranian-backed groups on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The Pentagon chief noted that the United States continues to investigate the attack on the U.S. military and he believes Washington has the right to give a “symmetrical response.”
“It is to be expected that we will always hold people accountable for their actions. We demand the right to defend our troops,” Austin explained.
The U.S. defense secretary also said that Iran, as a “major supporter of armed formations,” is able to fully assess and draw its own conclusions about the intentions of the U.S. airstrike.
Earlier, the Pentagon reported that the United States struck several buildings on the Syrian-Iraqi border used by a number of Iranian-backed paramilitary groups, including Qataib Hezbollah and Qataib Sayyid al-Shuhada. The move, the Pentagon noted, was in response to recent attacks on U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq.