U.S. strikes on targets in Iraq and fresh attacks by Houthi militants on shipping in the Red Sea offer the latest warning signs that the war in Gaza risks expanding into a wider conflict destabilizing the Middle East.

The Pentagon said late Monday that its forces launched strikes on three installations in Iraq linked to Kataib Hezbollah. Washington said the Iraqi insurgent group that’s backed by Iran was behind an attack that injured three U.S. personnel, leaving one in critical condition.

"While we do not seek to escalate conflict in the region, we are committed and fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. He called it a "necessary and proportionate” response.