Published 01/29/2024 17:55
Three US service members were killed and at least 34 were injured in a drone attack carried out by Iranian-backed militants against US troops in northeast Jordan, near the border with Syria, as announced by President Joe Biden and US officials. Americans. These are the first known American military deaths due to hostile fire in the turmoil spreading across Israel since the conflict began in October, representing a significant escalation in tensions in the Middle East.
President Biden and US officials have promised a response, while Iran denies involvement and militant groups claim responsibility for the attack. The incident increases tensions in the region and raises concerns about the potential escalation of the conflict.
“While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by Iranian-backed radical militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq,” Biden said in a statement. The president highlighted that he will hold everyone involved accountable at the time and in the way they choose.
The attacks have been used by Republicans to accuse Biden of inaction that “emboldens America’s enemies in the Middle East.” “We must respond to these repeated attacks by Iran and its proxies by directly attacking Iranian targets and their leadership,” said Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. “The Biden administration’s responses so far have only provoked more attacks.”
However, Iran’s mission to the United Nations denied any involvement in the attack. “Iran had no connection and had nothing to do with the attack on the US base,” the mission said in a statement, adding that there is a conflict between US forces and resistance groups in the region, which are responding with retaliatory attacks. The stricken logistics base supplies rebel allies fighting against the Syrian government.
“As we have clearly stated before, resistance groups in the region are responding to the Zionist regime’s war crimes and genocide that kills children and… they do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said. Affairs spokesman Nasser Kanaani said allegations of Iranian involvement were motivated by “specific political objectives to reverse realities in the region” and were “influenced by third parties, including the child-killing Zionist regime.”
US military activity in Jordan can be a sensitive issue, especially at a time of tensions over the Israel-Hamas conflict, due to growing concern in Jordan about the spread of war. The Jordanian government said only that the attack took place at an “outpost” along its border with Syria.
Late last year, Amman asked Washington to deploy Patriot air defense systems to bolster its border defense. Under the allegation of combating drug trafficking, the kingdom has hundreds of US trainers in the country and carries out extensive exercises with US troops throughout the year.
The Jordanian government, in a statement, condemned the attack and said the Americans were “cooperating with Jordan in combating terrorism and border security.”
The attack, which left at least 34 people injured, is likely to intensify concerns about a wider conflict in the Middle East. Eight people were evacuated from Jordan to higher level care but are in stable condition.
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October, US forces have been attacked more than 164 times by groups believed to be backed by Iran in Iraq and Syria. There were at least 70 victims before Sunday’s attack, most of them traumatic brain injuries.
Last Sunday, the Pentagon declared two members of the Navy SEALs dead after they went missing 10 days earlier during an operation at sea to intercept Iranian weapons aimed at Houthi fighters.
The drone strike came as Israel and Hezbollah, another Iranian ally, exchanged fire across the Lebanese border. US warships have also been targeted by Houthi forces, who regularly attack commercial ships passing through Red Sea waters off the coast of Yemen. Although the United States has so far maintained an official line that Washington is not at war in the region, it has retaliated against groups in Iraq and Syria and carried out attacks against Yemen’s Houthi military capabilities.
Until Sunday’s deadly attack, senior administration officials maintained that only luck had spared the United States from more serious casualties. A drone loaded with explosives landed at a barracks at the Erbil air base in Iraq on October 25. It ultimately failed, but several military personnel would likely have been injured or killed if the drone exploded, a senior military official said.
“The death of three American soldiers is a message to the US administration that unless the killing of innocents in Gaza stops, it must confront the entire nation,” senior official of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, told Reuters.