Australia responds after Biden administration launches retaliatory attacks

Australia has backed the United States after it carried out retaliatory air strikes on Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq.

Three US troops were killed and dozens were injured last week after Iranian-backed militants launched a drone strike in Jordan.

In launching the counter-attacks on Friday, US President Joe Biden warned: “If you harm an American, we will respond”.

US defence officials said the retaliatory strikes targeted 85 sites, including command and control centres, as well as rocket missile storage facilities.

At home, a spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the US’ intentions in carrying out the strikes were clear.

“Australia condemns attacks by Iran-backed militant groups on US service members in Jordan,” the spokeswoman said.

“The United States has made clear it carried out these strikes in response.

“We know Iran has been a malignant actor in the region for some time, including by supporting Hamas and other terrorists.”

The strikes – which do not directly target Iran – could continue for days, and mark a significant escalation in the Middle East conflict.

“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” Mr Biden said in a statement on Friday.

“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

The Biden administration has said economic sanctions will also be aimed at safeguarding US forces without escalating a direct confrontation with Iran.

The White House confirmed the US informed the Iraqi government prior to carrying out the strikes, after Baghdad condemned the strikes as a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

On Thursday, the US laid blame at a coalition of Iran-linked militias, backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, for the deadly drone attack last weekend at a remote base in Jordan, near the border with Syria and Iraq, that killed three reservists and injured over 80.

The US launched the air strikes on Friday, local time, just hours after Mr Biden attended a ceremony in Delaware to mark the return of the bodies of Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett.

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