US strike, first under Biden, kills Iran-backed militiaman

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BAGHDAD (AP) — An Iraqi militia official says a U.S. airstrike in Syria has killed one militiaman and wounded a number of others with a powerful Iranian-backed Iraqi group.

The strike marks the first military action undertaken by U.S. President Joe Biden.

The official told The Associated Press that the strikes against facilities belong to the Kataeb Hezbollah militia, or Hezbollah Brigades, struck a site on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak of the attack.

The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley—a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—released the following statement after the strike.

“Any order for an attack undertaken by our armed forces must be given with clear authority and explanation. Our Constitution gives war making powers to Congress, not the President,” Merkley said. “I urge the administration to provide Congress and the American people with a clear justification as to whether this strike was necessary to protect against an imminent threat, and why lawmakers were not consulted. Going forward, I also expect the administration to engage constructively with Congress on matters of war and peace, including a serious effort to repeal decades-old authorizations for the use of military force and replace them with narrower and more specific frameworks that respect the constitutionally-required congressional responsibility to declare war.”

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