What we’re covering

  • The US said it struck 85 targets linked to Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria on Friday in response to a drone strike in Jordan that killed three American soldiers. The aircraft used included long-range bombers flown from the United States, according to officials.
  • President Joe Biden said adversaries should heed US warnings, while his defense secretary vowed: “This is the start of our response.” The US is seeking to deter further attacks on its troops while avoiding a full-scale conflict with Iran in a region already roiled by the Israel-Hamas war.
  • Meanwhile, Israel’s defense minister said the military will focus on the southernmost Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled following the Israeli bombardment of other cities.
  • At least 17,000 children are unaccompanied or separated from their parents in the enclave, according to UNICEF, with nearly all children needing mental support.
  • Here’s how to help humanitarian efforts in Israel and Gaza.

B-1 bombers were used in US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, official says

Air Force B-1 bombers were among the US aircraft that carried out strikes Friday in Iraq and Syria, a defense official told CNN.

The B-1 is a long-range heavy bomber that can deploy precision and non-precision weapons.

The bomber crews that flew from the US made it in one non-stop flight, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Friday.

The US is “really confident” in the precision of its strikes on the militia targets, Sims said, crediting the B-1 bombers for that assessment.

“Initial indications are we hit exactly what we meant to hit, with a number of secondary explosions associated with the ammunition and logistics locations” the US targeted, he said.

Sims said the US expected there to be casualties when it selected its targets.

“We know that there are militants that use these locations,” he said. “We made these strikes tonight with an idea that there would likely be casualties associated with people inside those facilities.”

The post was updated with additional details from a briefing by Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the B-1 bomber mission.

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