President Joe Biden’s administration won’t make a “hasty” decision in responding to the latest rocket attack targeting U.S. troops in Iraq, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.
Psaki’s comments came after at least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops. The Pentagon said a U.S. civilian contractor suffered a fatal “cardiac episode” while sheltering in place during the attack, but no other injuries were reported.
“If we assess a further response is warranted, we will take action again in a manner and time of our choosing and we reserve that option,” Psaki told reporters, noting that Biden has been briefed on the attack.https://bfe3c27decfa66a6db1751fa3949ebcc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
“What we won’t do is make a hasty or ill-informed decision that further escalates the [situation] or plays into the hands of our adversaries,” she added.
It was the first attack since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week, killing one militiaman and stoking fears of a possible repeat of a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated last year, culminating in the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport.
The rockets struck Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province at 7:20 a.m. local time on Wednesday, coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto said. Al Asad’s missile defense systems engaged during the attack, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said.
Kirby added that Iraqi security forces are on scene and investigating the incident. U.S. officials have not yet said who carried out the attack, and do not have a complete picture of the extent of the damage. So far no one has claimed responsibility.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was briefed by his team and is closely monitoring the situation, Kirby said.
The Iraqi military released a statement saying the attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the rockets. It was found in the al-Baghdadi area of Anbar, an Iraqi military official said on condition of anonymity to discuss the attack with the media.
Biden is now ordering missile strikes knowing it is putting Americans in danger.