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WASHINGTON: There has been an uptick in rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Syria and President Biden has directed the Department of Defense to brace for future strikes and respond appropriately, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential for any significant escalation of these attacks in the days ahead,” Kirby said.

Biden has sent naval power to the Middle East in the past two weeks, including two aircraft carriers, other warships and about 2,000 Marines.

There has been an uptick in attacks on U.S. forces since the conflict in Israel broke out on Oct. 7 when from the Palestinian group Hamas attacked southern Israel.

“We know Iran’s goal is to maintain some level of deniability here, but we’re not going to allow them to do that,” Kirby said. “We also are not going to allow any threat to our interests in the region to go unchallenged.”

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