The United States is defending the use of airstrikes on Sunday to target an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria, warning it could strike again, despite criticism from top Iraqi officials and renewed threats from the militia itself.
"We are not going to let Iran get away with using a proxy force to attack American interests," a senior State Department official told reporters Monday, describing the strikes as defensive in nature.
"It has been a feature of Iran's expansionist foreign policy to conduct deniable attacks," the official added. "We are not giving Iran the fiction of deniability any longer."
The U.S. airstrikes targeting Kataeb Hezbollah weapons storage facilities, and command and control locations across Iraq and eastern Syria, killed at least 25 people and injured dozens more.
U.S. officials said the strikes were in response to a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base on Friday which killed a U.S. defense contractor. Officials said the evidence left no doubt Kataeb Hezbollah was responsible.
The strikes have sparked anger and criticism by top Iraqi officials.
Source: VOA news