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Airstrike in Syria Hits Iran-Backed Militia Targets, Austin Says

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The Biden administration's first known military action was an airstrike on facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups, in response to earlier attacks against U.S. forces. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he was confident the U.S. had hit its target. Photo: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Video Transcript

LLOYD AUSTIN: We're confident in the target that we went after. We know what we hit.

And we're confident that that target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes.

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You'll get more information, in terms of the effects of the strike this time, as time goes by. But I just wanted to make sure that, you know, I gave you that viewpoint for me, that level of confidence that there is connectivity. And so, we're very deliberate about our approach, as you would expect this to be. We allowed and encouraged the Iraqis to investigate and develop intelligence, and that was very helpful to us in refining the target.

Let me just finally say that I'm really proud of the men and women in our force who carried out the strike. As you would expect, they performed in a very professional manner and we're grateful for their service.

REPORTER: Can you say why this was so important to do, Secretary, and was this your recommendation?

LLOYD AUSTIN: It was my recommendation. We've said a number of times we will respond at, you know, on our timeline. And once again, we want to be sure of the connectivity, and want to be sure that we had the right targets.

REPORTER: When did the president authorize the strikes? Were you on the phone with him?

LLOYD AUSTIN: It was today, yes.

REPORTER: Was it this morning?

LLOYD AUSTIN: Yes, it was this morning.

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That's all I'm going to say, guys.

PRESS HANDLER: All right guys. Thank you.

REPORTER: Thank you.