Miami Herald (Sunday)


- Salim reported from Baghdad; El Chamaa reported from Beirut. Susannah George in Dubai and Missy Ryan, Dan Lamothe and Alex Horton in Washington contribute­d to this report.

supporting Iraq’s fight against Islamic State militants, did not respond to requests for comment.

“The fact that they’ve been bold enough to pop their heads up above the parapet today and launch attacks at U.S. troops speaks volumes about their confidence,” Lister said of the Islamic Resistance’s claims on Saturday.

“Now the ball is in America’s court again,” he said. “Is the second round more aggressive? Does the second round include an attempt to target a highvalue Iranian-linked operative as another way of trying to send a deterrent message? Or is it just more of the same?”

Proxy groups would be happy to return to “chipping away at American credibilit­y and deployment­s,” he said.

Abdolrasoo­l Divsallar, an Iran specialist and professor of Middle Eastern

Studies at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan said that the Biden administra­tion appeared to strike a balance between deterrence and de-escalation. Iran had nearly a week to prepare for the U.S. response.

“They’ve been evacuating their personnel and assets,” Divsallar said, adding that Iran knows further retaliatio­n could cause an “escalation loop.” Both Washington and Tehran have signaled they want to avoid further conflict, he added, saying he expected the response from proxy groups on the ground to remain “low intensity.”

U.S. Central Command said on Friday that more than 125 precision munitions were fired at assets belonging to “militia groups and their [Iranian military] sponsors who facilitate­d attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces” during the attack.

Iranian proxies in the Middle East have escalated attacks on the United States and Israel since the start of the war in Gaza. Israel has responded with a military campaign that has killed more than 27,000 Palestinia­ns, aclaunched cording to the Gaza

Health Ministry.

The deaths of Spec. Breonna A. Moffett, 23, Sgt. William J. Rivers, 46, and Spec. Kennedy L. Sanders, 24 were the first in what the Institute for the Study of War says has been more than 170 attacks on U.S. military bases in the region, mainly in Syria and Iraq, since Oct. 7. More than 50 troops were wounded, at least one critically, in the strike on Tower 22, a key support base for the larger U.S. installati­on at Tanf in Syria.

The United States has dozens of retaliator­y strikes since Oct. 7, including one in Baghdad that killed a senior commander of al-Nujaba.

Washington has also bombed Iranian-linked Houthis in Yemen, who have been attacking commercial shipping in what they say is a protest of the Gaza war.

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