Update(1715ET): Importantly, there have been no reports of US airstrikes in Iran this evening, and US officials say that the Pentagon does not plan to hit targets inside the Islamic Republic. But the strikes on eastern Syria and in western Iraq were large, and targeted IRGC assets and personnel and their affiliates. According to a CENTCOM statement, the initial wave, which started at 4pm US Eastern Time (interestingly, just after markets closed), included over 85 targets, with some of them hit more than once:
At 4:00 p.m. (EST) Feb. 02, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. U.S. military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States.
The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions. The facilities that were struck included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicle storages, and logistics and munition supply chain facilities of militia groups and their IRGC sponsors who facilitated attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces.
The Biden administration is promising this is not the end of it, and the campaign could last for days or more.
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) February 2, 2024
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Update(1640ET): The Biden administration has begun its much anticipated retaliatory strikes:
FIRST US MILITARY RETALIATORY STRIKES UNDERWAY IN SYRIA: ABC
Regional analyst Kevork Almassian comments as this initial wave of attacks begins: “The US air force is bombing Eastern Syria near al-Mayadeen. Syria is a sovereign country which has not attacked the United States. A clear violation of international law.” US B1 bombers have been involved, according to officials. Initial unconfirmed footage from the region:
Breaking: this was sent to me from Al-Qaem, Iraq moments ago, you can hear the huge explosions in the distance from the Syrian-Iraqi border area. pic.twitter.com/A4fccWLJ9u
— Steven Nabil (@thestevennabil) February 2, 2024
The Department of Defense has since suggested the initial eastern Syria strikes which were first reported might be the work of a partner air force, possibly Israel(?). There are a number of reports suggesting Israel is participating as a partner force. Additionally:
- Initial report of a US attack against targets in the Deir ez-Zor area on the Syria-Iraq border.
- US Official confirms strikes occurring in Iraq and Syria. “8 targets is just first of many courses” so far
- Reuters, citing American officials: “The strikes targeted facilities in Iraq and Syria linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and groups that it supports.”
- Start time was about 4 p.m. Eastern Time.
The administration appears to have waited until market close on Friday to start bombing….