Biden Promises Response After Drone Strike Kills 3 US Troops

President blames Iran-backed militias for attack that wounded 34 Americans based in Jordan
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2024 11:26 AM CST
Updated Jan 28, 2024 12:03 PM CST
Drone Strike Killed 3 Troops in Jordan, Injured 25, US Says
President Joe Biden speaks Sunday at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, on a campaign trip.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A drone attack killed three US soldiers stationed in Jordan, near the Syrian border, and at least 34 were injured, US Central Command reported Sunday. President Biden said the attack was carried out Saturday night by Iran-backed militia groups. He called the three Army troops "patriots in the highest sense," the Washington Post reports. Although American forces have come under fire by militias repeatedly since the Israel-Hamas war began Oct. 7, this is the first time US service members have been killed. The Pentagon usually has about 3,000 troops in Jordan. The US "will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner [of] our choosing," Biden said in a statement, per the AP.

The Jordanian government, according to state television reports, said the attack occurred in Syria; US officials said it was at Tower 22, a small outpost in northeast Jordan, per CNN. It's the first publicly known attack on the site, and it's not clear why air defenses did not intercept the drone. The Americans are there mostly to help combat what's left of the Islamic State, per the New York Times. Jonathan Lord, a former Department of Defense official, told Axios that the outpost is at a spot where the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet, near areas that the pro-Iranian militia Kataib Hezbollah has seized.

A senior US official told the Post that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a group that includes Kataib Hezbollah, claimed responsibility. Calling it a "despicable and wholly unjust attack," Biden said, "We know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq." The identities of the Americans killed were not released. The US has launched strikes at targets in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen in the past few months, per the AP, in response to the attacks on American forces and to counter the threats to commercial shipping in the Red Sea posed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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