President Joe Biden ordered the US military to carry out retaliatory airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia groups after three US servicemembers were injured in a drone attack in northern Iraq.
National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said one of the US troops suffered critical injuries in the attack that occurred earlier on Monday.
The Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups, under an umbrella of Iranian-backed militants, claimed credit for the attack that utilised a one-way attack drone.
Biden, who is spending Christmas at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, was alerted about the attack by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan shortly after it occurred on Monday and ordered the Pentagon and his top national security aides to prepare response options to the attack on an air base used by American troops in Erbil.
Sullivan consulted with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. Biden’s deputy national security adviser, Jon Finer, was with the president at Camp David and convened top aides to review options, according to a US official, who was not authorised to comment publicly and requested anonymity.