A militiaman was killed in this week’s US airstrike in eastern Syria, the Iranian-backed militant group he was loyal to said Friday.

Rahi Salam al- Sharaifi, a member of the Iranian-backed, Iraq-based Kata’ib Hezbollah, was killed in a US attack, the group said in a statement on Thursday’s US attack.

The US military carried out airstrikes late Thursday against infrastructure used by Iranian-backed militant groups in Al-Qaim, eastern Syria, near the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby had said the strikes were directed by US President Joe Biden in response to recent attacks on American and coalition personnel in Iraq.

“Specifically, the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah [KH] and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada [KSS],” said the statement.

Thursday’s strike is Biden’s first known military action since taking office in January.

The strike came after multiple rocket attacks on American forces in Iraq.

On Monday, in the latest incident, a rocket attack targeted Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, an area that hosts most of the capital’s foreign diplomatic missions, including the US Embassy.

The Green Zone has regularly come under rocket attack since the assassination in January 2020 of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

Washington blames Iran-backed Shia militias for such rocket attacks on foreign diplomatic missions and on US and foreign troops in Iraq.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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