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Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division, pull security near their M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in Syria, Oct. 27, 2020. (Spc. Jensen Guillory/Army)

The U.S. launched retaliatory airstrikes against Iranian-linked sites in eastern Syria Thursday after a drone attack killed a U.S. contractor and wounded five troops and another contractor at a U.S. base there.

The attack occurred around 1:38 p.m. local time at a U.S. Coalition maintenance facility near the town of Hasakah in the country’s northeast, according to a Defense Department release. Two of the wounded troops received on-site medical treatment, while three more troops and the wounded contractor were evacuated to medical facilities in Iraq. Their condition is unclear.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said President Joseph Biden authorized airstrikes “against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps” after intelligence officials determined the drone was of Iranian origin, the statement said. Austin indicated Thursday’s deadly attack was part of a “series” of recent provocations there.

“We will take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” Austin added. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”

The release characterized the “precision” airstrikes as “proportional and deliberate” though it’s unclear how many retaliatory strikes took place.

Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master’s thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood’s WWII movies.