U.S. Blames Iran-Backed Militia For Soldier Deaths: Israel-Hamas Live Updates

Three U.S. service members had been killed in Jordan on Sunday and a minimum of 34 others had been injured in what the Biden administration stated was a drone assault from an Iran-backed militia, the primary identified American army fatalities from hostile fireplace within the turmoil spilling over from Israel’s struggle with Hamas.

The assault occurred at a distant logistics outpost in northeast Jordan known as Tower 22 the place the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan converge. The one-way assault drone hit close to the outpost’s residing quarters, inflicting accidents that ranged from minor cuts to mind trauma, a U.S. army official stated.

But the deaths of U.S. service members, most of whom had been army reservists, will nearly actually improve stress on President Biden to retaliate extra forcefully as strife grows within the Middle East after the Oct. 7 assaults that killed 1,200 folks in Israel.

“Three U.S. service members were killed — and many wounded — during an unmanned aerial drone attack on our forces stationed in northeast Jordan near the Syria border,” Mr. Biden stated in a press release on Sunday. “While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.”

Speaking later in Columbia, S.C., Mr. Biden stated, “We lost three brave souls.” The president then led a second of silence, earlier than including, “We shall respond.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III additionally held Iran-backed militias answerable for the continued assaults in opposition to U.S. troops within the area, however he didn’t establish which nation the assault was launched from. “The president and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces, and we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our troops and our interests,” Mr. Austin stated.

The Pentagon declined to establish the service members who died or their items pending notification of members of the family. The army’s Central Command stated in a press release that eight of the injured service members had been flown to “higher-level care” exterior the nation, which different officers stated was in Iraq. Central Command stated it anticipated the variety of injured to “fluctuate” as further service members sought remedy.

In a press release, the Iran-backed militias who name themselves the Axis of Resistance claimed duty for the assault on the bottom in a distant desert space of Jordan, saying it was a “continuation of our approach to resisting the American occupation forces in Iraq and the region.”

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Nasser Kanaani, stated at a information convention on Monday that the militias “do not take orders” from Iran and act independently to oppose “any aggression and occupation.” He stated that accusations that Iran had ordered the strike had been “baseless,” and blamed Israel and the United States for fueling instability within the area.

The drone strike got here as Israel and Hezbollah, one other Iranian ally, have traded fireplace throughout the Lebanese border. A Houthi militia in Yemen, additionally backed by Iran, has fired missiles and drones at business ships within the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, calling it a retaliation for the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. The United States and its allies have fired again, putting inside Yemen a minimum of 10 occasions.

And on Jan. 20, a minimum of 4 U.S. service members stationed in western Iraq had been injured when their air base got here beneath heavy rocket and missile fireplace from what American officers stated had been Iran-backed militias. It was the newest in a minimum of 164 strikes by Iran-backed militias in opposition to U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq and Jordan because the Oct. 7 assaults.

Until Sunday’s lethal assault, senior administration officers stated that solely luck had spared the United States from extra critical casualties. One drone full of explosives landed on a barracks on the Erbil air base in Iraq on Oct. 25. It turned out to be a dud, however a number of service members would more than likely have been injured or killed had it exploded, a senior army official stated.

The drone strike in Jordan on Sunday demonstrated that the Iran-backed militias — whether or not in Iran or Syria, or the Houthis in Yemen — remained able to inflicting critical penalties on American troops regardless of the U.S. army’s efforts to weaken them and keep away from tumbling right into a wider battle, probably with Iran itself.

“We don’t want to go down a path of greater escalation that drives to a much broader conflict within the region,” Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated on Sunday.

Asked in a prerecorded session on ABC News’s “This Week” whether or not he thought Iran needed struggle with the United States, General Brown, echoing assessments from the U.S. intelligence companies, stated, “No, I don’t think so.”

In his assertion, Mr. Biden known as the fallen U.S. troops “patriots in the highest sense,” and stated they had been “risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism. It is a fight we will not cease.”

Last Sunday, the Pentagon declared two members of the Navy SEALs lifeless after they disappeared 10 days earlier throughout an operation at sea to intercept weapons from Iran headed to Houthi fighters.

The Navy commandos had been the primary identified U.S. fatalities in Washington’s marketing campaign in opposition to the Houthis, who from territory they management within the nation’s north have launched dozens of assaults on ships within the Red Sea since November, roiling the worldwide delivery business.

The Americans killed on Sunday had been the primary identified fatalities from hostile fireplace within the area because the Oct. 7 assaults by Hamas.

About 350 Army and Air Force personnel are deployed to the Tower 22 border outpost. It serves as a logistics and resupply hub for the Al Tanf garrison close by in southeastern Syria, the place American troops work with native Syrian companions to battle remnants of the Islamic State. The United States additionally has about 2,000 troops stationed at an air base in Azraq, Jordan, in addition to Special Operations forces and army trainers.

“By targeting Jordanian soil, Iran gets to exacerbate another U.S. relationship in the region,” stated Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute in Washington.

The Jordanian authorities in a press release condemned the assault and stated the Americans had been “cooperating with Jordan in countering terrorism and securing the border.”

It was unclear on Sunday why air defenses on the outpost didn’t intercept the drone, which former army commanders stated seemed to be the primary identified assault on the situation since assaults on U.S. forces started quickly after the Oct. 7 incursion.

In 2016, the American army turned Al Tanf right into a small base. It is on the strategic Baghdad-Damascus freeway — an important link for forces backed by Syria’s ally Iran in a hall that runs from the Iranian capital, Tehran, via Iraq and Syria to southern Lebanon.

The Rukban refugee camp, with some 8,000 residents, is close to each Al Tanf and Tower 22.

Troops at Al Tanf have come beneath fireplace earlier than from Iran-backed militias. The Defense Department stated final fall that 21 troops had suffered minor accidents however returned to responsibility after the assaults on Oct. 17 and 18 at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq and the Al Tanf garrison.

Congressional Republicans who’ve criticized Mr. Biden’s coping with Iran and its proxies seized on Sunday’s assault to demand that the administration take extra forceful motion.

“We must respond to these repeated attacks by Iran and its proxies by striking directly against Iranian targets and its leadership,” stated Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the highest Republican on the Armed Services Committee. “The Biden administration’s responses thus far have only invited more attacks.”

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