Per Yahoo, U.S. President Donald Trump has authorized the U.S. military to respond to Wednesday’s rocket attack by Iran-backed militia in Iraq that killed two American troops and a British service member, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stopped short of blaming Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah or naming any specific militia.
But they were clear that they believe Iran backed the fighters who carried out the attack, and warned that all options were on the table.
“I have spoken with the president. He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.
TheHill reports the Pentagon’s top leaders on Thursday confirmed that Iranian-backed militia were behind the rocket attack in Iraq that killed two U.S. troops and one British soldier a day earlier, saying that “all options are on the table” for a response.
“Yesterday’s attack by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups consisted of multiple indirect fires that originated from a stationary platform and was clearly targeting coalition and partnered forces on Camp Taji,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon.
“Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies,” Esper added.
“All options are on the table as we work with our partners to bring the perpetrators to justice and maintain deterrence. … We will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region.”
The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq on Wednesday evening announced that 18 Katyusha rockets hit Camp Taji north of Baghdad, killing three and wounding 12. Iraqi forces found a rocket-rigged truck a few miles from the base, the coalition said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who spoke alongside Esper, echoed that all options are on the table and “we’re looking at everything,” as a potential response.
“You don’t get to shoot at our bases, kill and wound Americans and get away with it,” Esper said.