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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.

Updated 41 mins ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz has become the first Team United States Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver, .86 seconds behind him.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 88 huge blazes burn in U.S.

Firefighters on the scene as dozens of homes burn during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Flames from California's biggest wildfire were engulfing homes in the state's north overnight — one of 88 large blazes raging in the U.S.

Driving the news: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, was tearing through the community of Indian Falls, per AP.