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The United States has launched strikes against Iran’s allies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, further escalating tensions in the Middle East which began after the outbreak of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
Under the pretext of responding to the January 28 drone attack on the Tower 22 base in Jordan -which killed three U.S. service members and wounded more than 40 others-, the U.S. launched strikes against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its affiliates in Iraq and Syria on February 2.
The operation involved two B-1B bombers deployed from the U.S.. The targeted facilities included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles, drone storage, as well as logistics and munition supply chain facilities belonging to Iranian-backed forces.
The strikes hit 85 targets across seven facilities, three in Iraq and four in Syria, using 125 precision-guided missiles. 17 people were reportedly killed in Iraq and 29 others in Syria. Both countries condemned the U.S. attack, saying that civilians were among the casualties.
Despite the scale of the attack, Iranian-backed forces were not deterred. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq -a coalition that has been leading operations against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since the outbreak of the war in Gaza- attacked Harir Air Base in northern Iraq, where U.S. troops are deployed, as well as the U.S. Khrab al-Jir airstrip in northeastern Syria with drones on February 3.
Later on February 4, the IRI attacked a U.S. base at al-Omar oil fields in eastern Syria. Six fighters of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed and 18 others were wounded in the attack.
U.S. actions were not limited to Iraq and Syria. On 3 February, the U.S. and the United Kingdom conducted strikes against 36 sites of the Houthis (Ansar Allah) in Yemen, which included underground facilities, drone storage and operation sites, missile systems, radars and helicopters in 13 different locations.
The attack -which was the third by the U.S. and the UK in recent weeks- was an attempt to degrade capabilities of the Iranian-backed group, who has been attacking Israel-affiliated ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November 19 in support of Gaza.
The U.S. announced more strikes against missiles and drones of the Houthis on February 4 and 5. However, the group was not deterred. It hit back on February 6 by attacking a British and an American ship in the Red Sea, which were identified as the Morning Tide and Star Nasia. Both vessels sustained damage.
Recent U.S. attacks on Iraq, Syria and Yemen have not only failed to deter Iran and its allies, but also made the situation in the Middle East far more dangerous. The attacks showed the length Washington is willing to go to in order to support the Israeli war on Gaza, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 27,000 Palestinians.