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U.S. begins strikes to retaliate for drone attack that killed 3 American soldiers

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CBS News Live

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The U.S. has begun conducting airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in half a dozen locations, according to two officials, in what the Biden administration has been calling a “multi-tiered” response to a deadly drone attack that killed three American soldiers last Sunday.

President Biden told reporters Monday he had decided on a response, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday it was time to take away “even more capability than we’ve taken in the past.” 

U.S. officials told CBS News earlier this week there were plans for a series of strikes against targets that include facilities and personnel associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq and Syria.

The administration blamed the drone strike on the group Islamic Resistance of Iraq, a group of militias backed by Iran. Austin on Thursday said it’s unclear if Iran knew about the drone attack ahead of time, but without Iran, these attacks wouldn’t take place. 

“How much Iran knew or didn’t know, we don’t know — it really doesn’t matter because Iran sponsors these groups, it funds these groups, and in some cases, it trains these groups on advanced conventional weapons,” Austin said. 

Iranian-backed groups have attacked U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria over 160 times since October, but until Sunday’s attack in Jordan, no U.S. service members had been killed. 

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