(CNN) – US President Joe Biden ordered defensive precision airstrikes on facilities used by Iranian-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region on Sunday night, according to a Defense Department press release. .
“The targets were selected because these facilities are used by Iranian-backed militias involved in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strikes against US personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the US strikes targeted weapons storage and operational facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both near the border between those countries, “Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in the statement. .
“As tonight’s attacks demonstrated, President Biden has made it clear that he will act to protect American personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iranian-backed groups against US interests in Iraq, the president led new military actions to disrupt and deter such attacks, ”Kirby said.
Returning to the White House Sunday night after a weekend at Camp David, Biden did not stop to answer questions about the airstrikes, telling reporters gathered on the South Lawn: “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” .
A spokesman for the National Security Council referred CNN’s request for comment to the Pentagon on Sunday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Sunday night that the airstrikes “appear to be a targeted and proportionate response to a serious and specific threat.”
“Protecting the military heroes who defend our freedoms is a sacred priority. The Iranian-backed militias using these facilities have been involved in attacks that threaten the US military as well as our allies, “he said. “Congress expects to receive and review the formal notification of this operation under the War Powers Act and to receive additional reports from the Administration.”
The air strikes were not the first ordered by this administration.
The first known action by the US military under Biden occurred in February when he attacked a site in Syria used by two Iranian-backed militia groups in response to rocket attacks on US forces in the region. Those attacks raised concern among lawmakers, who said Biden had not asked for the necessary authorization from Congress. The White House had said the attacks were backed by Article II of the Constitution, as well as the Charter of the United Nations.
CNN’s DJ Judd and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.