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U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on March 5 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.S. targeted five Kataib Hezbollah (KH) weapon storage facilities in Iraq on Thursday, following Wednesday's lethal attack on U.S. service members, the Department of Defense said.

Driving the news: Two U.S. service members and one member of the anti-ISIS coalition were killed in a rocket attack in Iraq on Wednesday. Similar rocket attacks in the past have been attributed to KH.

  • The weapons storage facilities targeted on Thursday housed arms that were used to target U.S. and coalition troops, the Pentagon said.
  • The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What they're saying:

"These strikes were defensive, proportional, and in direct response to the threat posed by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups (SMG) who continue to attack bases hosting OIR coalition forces.
Yesterday’s attack on Camp Taji killed two U.S. and one U.K. service members and wounded 14 others. It marked the latest in a series of rocket attacks conducted by Iranian-backed SMGs against U.S. and coalition personnel – killing five and wounding dozens more, including Iraqi Security Forces."
— the Pentagon's release reads

Go deeper: 2 U.S. service members killed by rocket attack in Iraq

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper

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Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.