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On Thursday, March 12, 2020, U.S. and coalition aircraft launched retaliatory airstrikes against the Iranian-supported Kataib Hezbollah militia group locations in Iraq.

Politico reports that these retaliatory strikes were in response to a rocket attack launched against a military base, which killed two American troops.

The strike came a few hours after Pentagon officials pinned the blame on Iranian-backed Shia militia groups and warned that the U.S. government would respond to the military’s attack, which additionally killed a British serviceman and wounded 14 other troops.

The airstrikes were directed towards five Kataib Hezbollah weapons facilities and had the intention of hurting their ability to carry out future attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, according to a statement from the Defense Department.

“Let me be clear: The U.S. will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon earlier in the day. He noted that he spoke to President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the attack and the president gave him “the authority to do what we need to do consistent with his guidance.”

“These terror groups must cease their attacks on U.S. and coalition forces or face consequences at a time and place of our choosing,” according to the statement.

During the last few months, tensions between Iran and the U.S. have been dialed up.

As long as the U.S. government maintains a military presence in the Middle East, the country will continue to be susceptible to terror attacks like the one witnessed on March 11.

A full American troop withdrawal is long overdue.