Biden orders strike on Iranian-aligned group after 3 US troops injured in drone attack in Iraq

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has ordered retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militias after three US service members were injured in a drone strike in northern Iraq.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said one of the US troops suffered critical injuries in the attack that took place earlier Monday. The Iran-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups, under an umbrella of Iran-backed militants, claimed credit for the attack.

Biden, who is spending Christmas at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, was briefed on the attack on Monday and ordered the Pentagon to prepare response options.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the national security team quickly drew up plans and presented him with options in a call. Biden led attacks on three locations used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups.

The latest attack on US forces follows months of escalating threats and actions against US forces in the region since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, which sparked the devastating war in Gaza. The US has blamed Iran, which has financed and trained Hamas, for increasing violence by its network of proxy groups across the region, including attacks by Yemen's Houthis on commercial and military vessels through a critical shipping chokepoint in the Red Sea.