WASHINGTON (AP) — Iranian-backed militants in Iraq and Syria have long battled with U.S. and coalition forces, launching sporadic attacks against bases in the region where troops are deployed to fight Islamic State group insurgents.
But since Oct. 17, as civilian deaths in Israel's war against Hamas began to skyrocket, there has been a dramatic spike in attacks by Iran's proxies, operating under the umbrella name of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.
While most of the more than five dozen attacks have been largely ineffective, at least 60 U.S. personnel have reported minor injuries. Most often those have been traumatic brain injuries from the explosions, and all troops have returned to duty, according to the Pentagon.
In response to the attacks, the U.S. has walked a delicate line. The U.S. military has struck back just three times as the Biden administration balances efforts to deter the militants without triggering a broader Middle East conflict.
A look at the attacks and the U.S. response:
ATTACKS — WHEN, WHERE, WHY
According to the Pentagon, Iranian-backed militants have launched 61 attacks on bases and facilities housing U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17. Of those, 29 have been in Iraq and 32 in Syria.
The U.S. has about 2,000 U.S. forces in Iraq, under an agreement with the Baghdad government, and about 900 in Syria, mainly to counter IS but also using the al-Tanf garrison farther south to…