US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd AustinHe promised on Sunday that the Pentagon would “attack if necessary” in response to the attack on an Iraqi base where US troops were stationed this Sunday, although it was not yet clear who was responsible for the attack.
“We will attack if we think it’s necessary at the time and place we choose. We demand the right to defend our troops,” Austin said in an interview with ABC News.
Ten rockets hit the Iraqi province of Al Anbar (west) on Wednesday, killing about 2,000 U.S. soldiers and wounding no one, although a U.S. contractor suffered a heart attack and died shortly afterwards.
He said the White House was still investigating who carried out the attack and vowed to avoid anything “Urgent or wrong decision that can increase tensions” in the region.
In late February, Biden ordered a bombing of pro-Iranian militants in Syria, in which at least one person was killed and two wounded; Erbil (northern Iraq) did this in retaliation for an attack on another base, which killed a U.S. contractor and wounded the U.S. and Iraqi military several times.
Although this week’s attack on this second Iraqi base did not cause any casualties, Austin stressed that the US government wants to ensure that those who attack them are “held accountable for their actions.” And “he will do what is necessary to defend himself.”
The Pentagon chief clarified that it was not yet clear who launched the attack, and that his investigation was “encouraging Iraqis to move faster.”
However, Many in Washington suspect Iranian involvement, And Austin did not correct the journalist when asked about the possible repercussions of retaliation from the Pentagon on relations with Tehran.
“Iran is fully aware of what our bombings and actions represent, and they will come to their own conclusions. What they need to avoid is that we are going to protect our troops,” Austin concluded.