March 1 (UPI) -- The Pentagon on Monday said the U.S. airstrike carried out in Syria last week killed one member of an Iranian-backed militia and injured two others.
"What I can tell you is that we believe right now there was likely one militia member killed and two militia members wounded," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters in a news conference.
Two F-15E Strike Eagles dropped seven precision-guided munitions in the strikes Thursday which completely destroyed nine facilities and partially destroyed two others in Abu-Kamal near a control point used by Kait'ib Hezbollah and Kait'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, among other Iran-backed groups.
Kirby on Saturday said the targets were "very deliberately" chosen as the attack was in response to a rocket attack against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq last month that killed a contractor and injured several others.
On Monday, Kirby made clear the purpose of the strike was to prevent militia groups from using the compound for future attacks on Americans in Iraq as well as send a message that the United States will defend its allies.
It was not immediately clear if the initial assessment of casualties could change and Kirby did not provide further details on what was stored in the buildings that were destroyed.
Michael McCaul the lead Republican of the House foreign affairs committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., initially praised Biden for the strike, however, some Democrats including Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon sought further justification for the strike, saying any order for attack "must be given with clear authority and explanation."