WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States, for the second time in recent weeks, carried out strikes on Wednesday against a facility in eastern Syria that the Pentagon said was used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups.
As tensions soar over the Israel-Hamas conflict, U.S. and coalition troops have been attacked at least 40 times in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed forces since the start of October. Forty-five U.S. troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries or minor wounds.
In a statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes were conducted by two U.S. F-15 fighters and were in response to the recent attacks against U.S. forces.
Austin said the attacks against U.S. troops must stop.
“If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people,” Austin added.
There is growing concern that the Israel-Hamas conflict could spread through the Middle East and turn U.S. troops at isolated bases into targets.
The United States has sent warships and fighter aircraft to the region since the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted on Oct. 7, including two aircraft carriers, to try to deter Iran and Iran-backed groups. The number of troops added to the region is in the thousands.