United States military officials said strikes hit 85 targets late Friday in seven locations throughout Syria and Iraq in retaliation for a drone strike in Jordan in late January that killed three U.S. service members and wounded dozens.
On Saturday, 36 Houthi sites in Yemen were said to be struck, in operation with Britain.
On Friday, officials said "strategic regions" in Syria and Iraq were targeted in retaliation because Iran has been using those areas to expand its influence in the Middle East. The U.S. has blamed the Jordan attack on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iranian-backed militias.
Iran, meanwhile, has attempted to distance itself from the Jordan attack, saying that the militias act independently of its direction.
A view of destruction after the US warplanes carried out an airstrike on the headquarters of Hashd al-Shaabi in Al-Qaim city of Anbar, Iraq on February 03, 2024. (Photo by Hashd al-Shaabi Media Office / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)
What did the US retaliation strikes hit?
The U.S. military said its massive barrage of strikes hit the following throughout Syria and Iraq:
- Command and control headquarters
- Intelligence centers
- Rockets and missiles, drone and ammunition storage sites
- Other facilities connected to the militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, which handles Tehran’s relationship with, and arming of, regional militias
On Saturday, a U.S. official spoke anonymously to the Associated Press to say that an initial assessment showed the U.S. had struck each of its planned targets in addition to a few "dynamic targets" that popped up as the mission unfolded, including a surface-to-air missile site and drone launch sites.
Syrian opposition activists said the strikes hit the following:
- The Imam Ali base near the border Syrian town of Boukamal
- The Ein Ali base in Quriya, just south of the strategic town of Mayadeen
- A radar center on a mountain near the provincial capital that is also called Deir el-Zour
The Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), a coalition of Iran-backed militia that is nominally under the control of the Iraqi military, said the strikes in western Iraq hit:
- A logistical support post
- A tanks battalion
- An artillery post
- A hospital
A Europe-based activist who heads the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet, Omar Abu Layla, said the strikes hit:
- A border crossing known as Humaydiya, where militia cross back and forth between Iraq and Syria
- An area inside the town of Mayadeen known as "the security quarter."
On Saturday, anonymous U.S. officials told The Associated Press about the strikes in Yemen:
- The U.S. and Britain struck 36 Houthi targets in Yemen
- The Houthi targets were in 13 different locations
Residents in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, described the blasts as happening around buildings associated with the Yemeni presidential compound. The Houthi-controlled state-run news agency, SABA, reported strikes in al-Bayda, Dhamar, Hajjah, Hodeida, Taiz and Sanaa provinces.
Was anybody killed by the US retaliation strikes?
The U.S. has not released any information on fatalities, but locally, dozens have been reported to have been killed and hurt.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said 23 rank-and-file fighters were killed in the strikes reported by the Syrian opposition activists.
Iraqi government spokesperson Bassim al-Awadi said the border strikes killed 16 people and caused "significant damage" to homes and private properties.
And the PMF said in western Iraq 16 people were killed and 36 wounded, and that authorities were searching for other missing people.
The U.S. said it had informed Iraq about the operation before it started.
Reportings on any casualties in Yemen were not immediately available.
This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.