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Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla speaks after taking command of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., April 1, 2022.

Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla speaks after taking command of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., April 1, 2022. (Lisa Ferdinando/Defense Department)

U.S. forces struck back with airstrikes and artillery, killing at least four Iranian-backed militants in response to rocket attacks in Syria that injured three Americans, the Central Command said Thursday.

Several rockets landed around 7:20 p.m. local time Wednesday inside the perimeter of Mission Support Site Conoco in northeast Syria, according to the release. Shortly after, additional rockets landed near Mission Support Site Green Village.

One U.S. service member in Mission Support Site Conoco was treated for a minor injury and returned to duty. Two others were evaluated for minor injuries, CENTCOM said.

The U.S. responded with AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, AC-130 gunships and M777 howitzers to strike “Iran-affiliated militants,” killing at least four militants and destroying seven of their rocket launchers, CENTCOM added.

CENTCOM said the U.S. was not seeking conflict with Iran but would “continue to take the measures necessary to protect and defend our people.”

"We will respond appropriately and proportionally to attacks on our service members," CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla said in a statement. "No group will strike at our troops with impunity. We will take all necessary measures to defend our people."

Kurilla said the U.S. had responded “appropriately and proportionally” to the militant attacks on Americans in Syria.

Wednesday’s attacks occurred a day after U.S. airstrikes in Syria on sites associated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to CENTCOM.

Those strikes targeted a camp run by Shiite fighters from Afghanistan, and killed at least six Syrian and foreign militants, according to The Associated Press.

Iran has denied any ties to the groups targeted in the recent attacks.

The clashes have taken place at a sensitive time in relations between the United States and Iran as multinational talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal are reported to be making progress.

The talks are aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

U.S. officials have insisted there is no link between the strikes and negotiations to revive the deal.

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Joseph Ditzler is a Marine Corps veteran and the Pacific editor for Stars and Stripes. He’s a native of Pennsylvania and has written for newspapers and websites in Alaska, California, Florida, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania. He studied journalism at Penn State and international relations at the University of Oklahoma.
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Caitlin Doornbos covers the Pentagon for Stars and Stripes after covering the Navy’s 7th Fleet as Stripes’ Indo-Pacific correspondent at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Previously, she worked as a crime reporter in Lawrence, Kan., and Orlando, Fla., where she was part of the Orlando Sentinel team that placed as finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Kansas and master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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