February 20, 2024

Three US troops killed, as much as 34 injured in Jordan drone strike linked to Iran

Three U.S. service members had 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 mentioned on Sunday.

Biden blamed Iran-backed teams for the assault, the primary lethal strike in opposition to U.S. forces because the Israel-Hamas warfare erupted in October and despatched shock waves all through the Center East.

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“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 mentioned in an announcement.

“Have little question – we are going to maintain all these accountable to account at a time and in a way of our selecting,” he mentioned.

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.

Not less than 34 personnel had been evaluated for doable traumatic mind damage, a U.S. official instructed Reuters, talking on situation of anonymity. Two completely different officers mentioned some wounded U.S. forces had been medically evacuated from the bottom for additional therapy. One of many officers mentioned a small variety of these injured the place in vital however secure situation.

Two U.S. officers mentioned the drone struck close to the barracks early within the morning, which might clarify the excessive variety of casualties.

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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 warfare 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, based on the native well being ministry.

Since then, U.S. forces have come beneath assault greater than 150 instances by Iran-backed teams in Iraq and Syria, inflicting not less than 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 commonly attacking industrial ships passing by means of Purple Sea waters off Yemen’s coast.

Whereas the US has so far maintained an official line that Washington is just not at warfare 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.

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 affirm Joe Biden as a coward,” mentioned Republican Senator Tom Cotton in an announcement.

U.S. Senate Republican Chief Mitch McConnell mentioned 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 People misplaced their lives,” McConnell mentioned.

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 until the killing of innocents in Gaza stops, it should confront the whole nation,” he instructed Reuters.

“The continued American-Zionist aggression on Gaza is able to exploding the state of affairs within the area.”

The U.S. navy mentioned the assault occurred at a base in northeastern Jordan, close to the Syrian border. It didn’t title the bottom, however an individual acquainted with the matter recognized it as Tower 22 in Jordan.

U.S. navy exercise in Jordan generally is a delicate problem, significantly at a time of heightened tensions because of the Israel-Hamas battle, due to growing concern in Jordan concerning the warfare spreading.

The Jordanian authorities mentioned solely that the assault occurred at an “superior submit” alongside its border with Syria.

Late final 12 months, Amman requested Washington to deploy Patriot air protection programs to bolster its border protection.

It has requested extra help to sort out drones utilized in a raging multibillion-dollar drug warfare alongside the border with Syria, which Amman blames on pro-Iranian militias who maintain sway in southern Syria.

The dominion has a whole bunch of U.S. trainers within the nation and holds intensive workouts with U.S. troops all year long.