Three US troops killed in drone attack in Mideast
WASHINGTON: (Web Desk) Three US service members were killed, and dozens injured, in what the United States said was a drone attack near Jordan’s border with Syria, Reported BBC on Sunday.
Joe Biden said the facts of the attack were still being collected, but that it was “carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq”
He also warned of reprisals, saying the US “will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing”
This is the first time US soldiers have been killed in strikes in the region since Hamas’s 7 October attacks in southern Israel
However, there is still much we don’t know about the attacks.
As yet, no group has claimed responsibility for them, and we have had no word from Iran
Jordan – a close ally of the US – has also said that the attacks didn’t take place inside Jordan, but occurred in Syria, according to Reuters
There are conflicting accounts of the location of the drone attack which killed three US servicemen.
US President Joe Biden says the attack took place in north-east Jordan, close to the Syrian border, suggesting the location was a US base called Tower 22, which is just across the border from the much larger US base at al-Tanf, in south-east Syria.
However, a Jordanian spokesman says the attack took place at al-Tanf, not on the Jordanian side.
The Americans have maintained the secretive al-Tanf base since 2016 (during the height of the campaign against the Islamic State group).
Between 100 to 200 US servicemen operate there, conducting counter-terrorist and counter-narcotics operations.
Tower 22 is described as an “advise and assist” mission to Jordan, but is clearly closely connected to nearby al-Tanf.
A drone attack on al-Tanf in mid-October seriously injured one American.
There have been other attacks in previous years, so this is not the first time this general area has been attacked (though if Biden is correct about the location, then this is the first recorded attack inside Jordan since 7 October).
Whether the latest attack represents an escalation by pro-Iranian militias in Syria or a continuation of routine tit-for-tat operations is not yet clear.
This attack comes just 10 days after the Jordanian air force carried out air strikes in south-west Syria, in what was described as a counter-narcotics operation.
Some 3,000 American troops are usually stationed in Jordan, according to the Associated Press, which reports that this is the first targeting of American troops in Jordan during the Israel-Gaza war.
As mentioned in the previous post, US troops elsewhere in the Middle East have faced attacks on their bases.
This is the latest in a series of attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria by Iran’s proxies in the region since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza conflict in October.
A number of US military personnel were injured in a missile attack on the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq last week.
The US military blamed the Iran-backed militia for the attack. Later, the strike was claimed by a group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq.