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A set of American airstrikes targeting an Iraqi militia way station in Syria overnight was meant as a calibrated and proportionate response to rocket attacks on United States facilities this month which left one person dead.

But the strikes may have killed at least 22 people, according to a monitoring organisation, potentially prompting an unexpected blowback against the first military action ordered by president Joseph Biden.

The US early Friday launched half a dozen missiles on a Syrian site it described as depots used by Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayid al-Shuhada, two Iranian-backed Iraq militias it claimed were behind a deadly 15 February attack on an American base in northern Iraq and another 22 February attack on its embassy in Baghdad.

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