Three US troops have been killed and 25 injured in a drone attack on a US base in Jordan, as confirmed by the US military. The attack, occurring near the Syria border, marks a significant escalation in the region, with US Central Command attributing the casualties to this drone strike.
US President Joe Biden, in a statement, has blamed “radical Iran-backed militant groups” for the attack. This incident is notably the first time US soldiers have been killed in the region since the 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas. While there have been previous attacks on US bases in the region, this is the first to result in American casualties.
The White House reported that President Biden was briefed on the attack by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin among other officials. In his statement, Biden expressed grief for the loss of American lives, describing the attack as “despicable and wholly unjust.”
As of now, the names of the servicemen killed and injured have not been released, pending notification of their families. This incident follows reports from December indicating that US bases in Iraq and Syria had been attacked at least 97 times since mid-October.
In response to previous attacks, the US had conducted airstrikes against Iran-affiliated groups. One such attack in northern Iraq injured three US servicemembers, one critically. Another retaliatory strike by the US in Baghdad resulted in the death of a militia leader accused of orchestrating attacks on US personnel.
President Biden has vowed to hold those responsible for this latest attack accountable, asserting that the timing and manner of response will be determined by the US.
In an interview with ABC News, Gen CQ Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized America’s objective in the region to prevent a broader conflict, stating, “The goal is to deter them, and we don’t want to go down a path of greater escalation that drives to a much broader conflict within the region.”
This incident comes amid heightened tensions in the Red Sea, where US and coalition troops have been deployed following attacks by Iran-backed Houthis on commercial ships. The Yemen-based group claims these attacks are in support of Palestinians in Gaza, where conflict with Israel persists.
US Central Command has previously condemned the Houthis’ actions in the Red Sea as unlawful, unrelated to the Gaza conflict, and posing risks to international maritime security.