U.S. President Donald Trump has given the Pentagon the authority to possibly retaliate following an attack in Iraq, allegedly conducted by an Iranian-backed group, that killed two U.S. troops and a British service member, and injured 12 others.
“I have spoken with [U.S.] President [Donald Trump]. He’s given me the authority to do what we need to do, consistent with his guidance. And, you know—if that becomes the case,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, adding he and Trump had a “good conversation” the previous day.
Esper declined to elaborate if and what action would be taken.
“I’m not going to take any option off the table right now, but we are focused on the group—groups that we believe perpetrated this in Iraq, as the immediate [focus],” he said.
Those responsible are believed to be Kata’ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades), an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group and part of the Popular Mobilization Forces supported by Iran.