President Joe Biden, who four years ago attack former President Donald Trump for sabre-rattling with the Islamic Republic of Iran, on Friday ordered more than 85 military strikes against Iranian targets throughout the Middle East.
The strikes against Iranian assets follow an Iranian drone strike in Jordan that killed three American soldiers. Friday’s strikes targeted Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, according to reports from the Associated Press and NBC News.
The operation, marking the first systemic retaliatory strikes by the U.S., targeted over 85 sites linked to these militias, according to the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Central Command told reporters the actions were focused on dismantling various strategic points including command and control centers, intelligence facilities, and storage sites for rockets, missiles, and drones.
“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” President Biden said in a statement to media.
The U.S. has apparently telegraphed to the world that the next round of strikes will occur over the weekend, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal.
This military action marks a notable escalation in the U.S. strategy to counter the growing influence of Iran-aligned groups in the Middle East, coinciding with his administration’s attempts at deescalating the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Prior to the strikes, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had indicated a “multitier response”, suggesting a prolonged and varied military strategy, as reported by officials to NBC News.
Iran has reportedly denied any involvement in the Jordan attack, cautioning against any threats from the U.S.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Revolutionary Guard chief Hossein Salami have both issued strong responses to any potential U.S. aggression.
These developments follow a pattern of increased attacks on U.S. forces by Iran-backed groups since Oct. 7, when Palestinian terrorists stormed into Israel to murder and kidnap more than 1,300 Israelis and some Americans.