US "to take additional strikes and additional action" against Iran-backed groups: White House

AFP , Sunday 4 Feb 2024

The United States will press on with strikes against Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday, declining to say if he ruled out strikes against Iran itself.

NBC News Jake Sullivan
This screen grab from video shows White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaking on NBC News, on Sunday, February 4, 2023. Photo courtesy NBC News

 

The United States and Britain on Saturday struck dozens of targets in Yemen in response to repeated attacks on Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Those strikes came the day after a separate wave of unilateral American strikes against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria that were carried out in response to the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan on January 28.

"That is not the end of it. We intend to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message that the United States will respond when our forces are attacked," Sullivan told NBC news Sunday morning.

He also told ABC that the strikes have had a "good effect" in "reducing" and "degrading" such groups' abilities to carry out further attacks.

The United States has carried out a total of 85 strikes on seven separate sites in Iraq and Syria, including on command and training centers and on weapons stocks, according to the Pentagon.

Sullivan said Sunday he was unable to confirm whether the strikes had left any civilian casualties, but said the targets were "absolutely valid."

Asked whether the United States would rule out the possibility of striking Iran directly, Sullivan told NBC, "Sitting here on television, it would not be wise for me to talk about what we're ruling in and ruling out."

"If (Iran) chose to respond directly to the United States, they would be met with a swift and forceful response from us," he told ABC.

The Houthis began targeting Red Sea shipping in November in support of Palestinians in Gaza, suffering under the Israeli war and siege of the strip.

The Houthis have repeatedly said that the attacks, which have severely disrupted a key global shipping lane, aim to pressure Israel into ending its brutal war and allowing unfettered aid access to Gazans.

Meanwhile, the US has repeatedly bypassed Congress to supply Israel with lethal weapons and munitions which Israel has used to target hospitals, UN-run schools and designated "safe areas" in Gaza.

The UN estimates that more than 85 percent of Gazans have been displaced by Israel's war.

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