© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at South Carolina’s First within the Nation Dinner on the State Fairgrounds in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., January 27, 2024. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photograph
By Phil Stewart, Steve Holland and Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Three U.S. service members had been killed and dozens wounded throughout 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 towards U.S. forces for the reason that Israel-Hamas conflict erupted in October and despatched shock waves all through the Center East.
“Whereas we’re nonetheless gathering the info 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.
At the very least 34 personnel had been being evaluated for attainable traumatic mind harm, a U.S. official instructed Reuters, talking on situation of anonymity. Two completely different officers stated some wounded U.S. forces had been medically evacuated from the bottom for additional therapy.
Two U.S. officers stated the drone struck close to the barracks early within the morning, which may 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 serious escalation of the already tense scenario within the Center East, the place conflict 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 response to 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 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 often attacking business ships passing by way of Crimson Sea waters off Yemen’s coast.
Whereas the USA has to this point maintained an official line that Washington is just not at conflict within the area, it has been retaliating towards the Iran-backed teams in Iraq and Syria and finishing up strikes towards Yemen’s Houthi army capabilities.
“We are going to keep it up their dedication to battle terrorism. And have little doubt – we’ll maintain all these accountable to account at a time and in a fashion of our selecting,” Biden stated in his assertion launched by the White Home.
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 towards U.S. forces throughout the area.
“The one reply to those assaults have to be devastating army retaliation towards Iran’s terrorist forces … Something much less will affirm Joe Biden as a coward,” stated Republican Senator Tom Cotton in a press release.
A senior official with the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, immediately 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 your entire nation,” he instructed Reuters.
“The continued American-Zionist aggression on Gaza is able to exploding the scenario within the area.”
The U.S. army stated the assault occurred at a base in northeastern Jordan, close to the Syrian border. It didn’t title the bottom. U.S. army exercise in Jordan is usually a delicate difficulty, significantly at a time of heightened tensions of the Israel-Hamas battle.
An individual acquainted with the matter recognized the U.S. base in Jordan that was attacked as Tower 22.
A Jordanian authorities spokesman instructed state TV that the militants focused a special base, outdoors Jordanian territory.
There was rising concern in Jordan concerning the conflict spreading. Late final 12 months, Amman requested Washington to deploy Patriot air protection methods to bolster its border protection.
It has requested extra help to deal with drones utilized in a raging multibillion-dollar drug conflict alongside the border with Syria, which Amman blames on pro-Iranian militias who maintain sway in southern Syria.
The dominion has tons of of U.S. trainers within the nation and holds intensive workouts with U.S. troops all year long.