Washington: Three U.S. service members have been killed and dozens could also be wounded after an unmanned aerial drone assault on U.S. forces stationed in northeastern Jordan close to the Syrian border, President Joe Biden and U.S. officers stated on Sunday.
Biden blamed Iran-backed teams for the assault, the primary lethal strike in opposition to US forces because the Israel-Hamas struggle erupted in October and despatched shock waves all through the Center East.
“Whereas we’re nonetheless gathering the information of this assault, we all know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant teams working in Syria and Iraq,” Biden stated in a press release. “Have little doubt – we are going to maintain all these accountable to account at a time and in a way of our selecting,” he stated.
Biden later requested for a second of silence for the three killed service members throughout a marketing campaign occasion in South Carolina, including, “We will reply.”
U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin echoed that risk. He and different senior officers briefed Biden earlier within the day on the assault.
At the least 34 personnel have been injured within the assault, however that quantity is predicted to alter as extra folks search care, in keeping with a press release from U.S. Central Command. Eight personnel have been evacuated from Jordan for increased stage care, however are in secure situation.
Two U.S. officers stated the drone struck close to the barracks early within the morning, which might clarify the excessive variety of casualties.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of hardline Iran-backed militant teams, claimed assaults on three bases, together with one on the Jordan-Syria border.
The assault is a significant escalation of the already tense state of affairs within the Center East, the place struggle broke out in Gaza after Palestinian Islamist group Hamas’ assault on Israel on Oct. 7 which killed 1,200. Israel’s subsequent assault on Gaza has killed over 26,000 Palestinians, in keeping with the native well being ministry.
Since then, U.S. forces have come underneath assault greater than 150 occasions by Iran-backed teams in Iraq and Syria, inflicting at the very least 70 casualties previous to Sunday’s assault, most of them traumatic mind accidents. U.S. warships have additionally been fired at by Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen, who’re frequently attacking industrial ships passing via Crimson Sea waters off Yemen’s coast.
Whereas the US has up to now maintained an official line that Washington isn’t at struggle within the area, it has been retaliating in opposition to the Iran-backed teams in Iraq and Syria and finishing up strikes in opposition to Yemen’s Houthi navy capabilities.
BIDEN PRESSURED ON IRAN
Republican opponents of Biden seized on the assault as proof of the Democratic president’s failure to confront Iran as its proxies strike in opposition to U.S. forces throughout the area.
“The one reply to those assaults have to be devastating navy retaliation in opposition to Iran’s terrorist forces … Something much less will verify Joe Biden as a coward,” stated Republican Senator Tom Cotton in a press release.
U.S. Senate Republican Chief Mitch McConnell stated Biden’s inaction was emboldening enemies of the US within the Center East.
“The time to start out taking this aggression critically was lengthy earlier than extra courageous Individuals misplaced their lives,” McConnell stated.
A senior official with the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, straight tied the assault to Israel’s marketing campaign in Gaza.
“The killing of three American troopers is a message to the U.S. administration that except the killing of innocents in Gaza stops, it should confront your entire nation,” he informed Reuters.
“The continued American-Zionist aggression on Gaza is able to exploding the state of affairs within the area.”
The U.S. navy stated the assault occurred at a base in northeastern Jordan, close to the Syrian border. It didn’t title the bottom, however an individual accustomed to the matter recognized it as Tower 22 in Jordan.
U.S. navy exercise in Jordan is usually a delicate challenge, notably at a time of heightened tensions as a result of Israel-Hamas battle, due to growing concern in Jordan concerning the struggle spreading.
The Jordanian authorities stated solely that the assault occurred at an “superior publish” alongside its border with Syria.
Late final yr, Amman requested Washington to deploy Patriot air protection programs to bolster its border protection.
It has requested extra help to deal with drones utilized in a raging multibillion-dollar drug struggle alongside the border with Syria, which Amman blames on pro-Iranian militias who maintain sway in southern Syria.
The dominion has lots of of U.S. trainers within the nation and holds intensive workout routines with U.S. troops all year long.