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U.S. to continue striking Iran-backed militias, White House says

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WASHINGTON | Xinhua |  The United States will launch more strikes against Iran-backed militia groups in the Middle East, the top U.S. national security official said Sunday, refusing to rule out the possibility of hitting targets inside Iran.

“We intend to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message that the United States will respond when our forces are attacked, or people are killed,” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker.

Sullivan, who appeared on multiple Sunday morning shows to discuss the current U.S. administration’s military response in the Middle East following a deadly attack on U.S. forces, did not rule out launching U.S. military action across the border of Iran.

“I would just say, from the perspective of Tehran, if they chose to respond directly to the United States, they would be met with a swift and forceful response from us,” said Sullivan when asked by George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week.”

The remarks came against the backdrop of the United States launching retaliatory strikes Friday against targets used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its affiliated militant groups in Iraq and Syria.

The Biden administration said the U.S. strikes were the first round of what would be a multi-tier response to a deadly attack on Jan. 27, in which three U.S. soldiers were killed in Jordan by what the United States said was an Iranian-manufactured drone launched by militias receiving support from Tehran.

On Saturday, coalition forces of the United States and Britain launched strikes from both air and surface platforms against three dozens of targets spreading across 13 locations in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen.

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Though claiming that the Houthis are also backed by Iran, the Pentagon tried to differentiate Saturday’s strikes from those conducted on Friday, saying the ones targeting the Houthis were aimed at deterring the group from further attacking international shipping. ■

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