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President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

What they're saying: "The proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with Coalition partners," Kirby said.

  • "The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel."
  • "At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters later on Thursday that officials are "confident in the target we went after, we know what we hit," per CNN.

  • "We’re confident that target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes."

The big picture: Kirby said the strikes destroyed facilities at a border control point used by multiple militia groups that are backed by Iran.

  • The strike was in response to at least three rocket attacks that were launched against U.S. targets in Iraq, one of which killed a non-U.S. contractor and wounded nine additional people, including five Americans, according to Politico.

Go deeper

Feb 25, 2021 - World

Iran's nuclear program and regional behavior should be dealt with separately, Israel tells U.S.

Blinken and Biden at the State Department. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat told his U.S. counterpart Jake Sullivan in a secure video call two weeks ago that Israel thinks Iran's nuclear program should be dealt with separately from its regional activity in future negotiations, two sources briefed on the call tell me.  

Why it matters: While many critics of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal note that it did nothing to curtail Iran's aggression in the region, Israel is concerned that linking the two issues will give American and European negotiators incentives to compromise on limitations to Iran's nuclear program.

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Officials load a body into a vehicle at the site of the mass shooting in Indianapolis. Photo:

Eight people who were killed along with several others who were injured in a Thursday evening shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis have been identified by local law enforcement.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

Pompeo, wife misused State Dept. resources, federal watchdog finds

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department's independent watchdog found that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked department employees to perform personal tasks on more than 100 occasions, including picking up their dog and making private dinner reservations.

Why it matters: The report comes as Pompeo pours money into a new political group amid speculation about a possible 2024 presidential run.