Drone Strike in Jordan Attributed to Iran-Backed Militia Groups
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In a somber development, President Joe Biden confirmed on Sunday that three American service members lost their lives in a devastating drone strike near the Syrian border in northeast Jordan. Numerous others were injured in the attack, emphasizing the escalating danger faced by American forces across the Middle East due to ongoing strikes by Iranian-backed militias.
This incident marks the first U.S. casualties in months of hostilities amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza. While the precise responsible group is still being officially determined, it is widely believed that one of several Iranian-backed factions carried out the attack.
Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the location of the strike. Jordanian state television quoted a government spokesperson who insisted it occurred outside Jordan’s borders, in Syria. However, U.S. officials assert that the attack took place within Jordanian territory.
Jordan has long served as a strategic base for U.S. troops due to its proximity to Iraq, Israel, the West Bank, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Currently, approximately 3,000 American troops are stationed in Jordan. The recent incident resulted in the deaths of three service members and injuries to 25 others, according to U.S. Central Command.
Over the course of the ongoing Gaza conflict, American troops deployed in Iraq and Syria have faced frequent drone and missile attacks on their bases. However, this attack represents a significant shift as it specifically targeted American forces in Jordan and resulted in the tragic loss of American lives. Previous attacks had left troops with severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.
The United States mourns the loss of these brave service members and continues to be vigilant in ensuring the safety and security of its military personnel stationed across the region.
Recent U.S. Strikes in the Middle East
The United States has conducted a series of targeted strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen in response to attacks on American forces in the region. These military actions also aim to discourage the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from posing a continued threat to commercial shipping in the Red Sea.
President Biden, who was in Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday, received a briefing from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the president planned to meet with his national security team later that day.
Regarding the recent attacks, President Biden referred to them as “despicable and wholly unjust.” He praised the service members for their dedication to protecting their fellow Americans, as well as their allies and partners in the fight against terrorism. He emphasized the United States’ commitment to standing strong in this fight.
The ongoing civil war in Syria has made it a base for Iranian-backed forces, including Hezbollah from Lebanon. Additionally, Iraq serves as a host for multiple Iranian-supported Shiite militias.
In another regional development, Jordan, a loyal ally of the West and a significant power in Jerusalem due to its oversight of holy sites, has been suspected of conducting airstrikes in Syria. These strikes targeted drug smugglers, but unfortunately resulted in the loss of nine lives earlier this month.
Furthermore, an umbrella group known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, consisting of Iran-backed factions, has claimed responsibility for launching explosive drone attacks in three areas of Syria and one area within “occupied Palestine.” This group has been responsible for numerous attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Syria since the Israel-Hamas conflict began.