JORDAN – An overnight drone attack on a small US outpost in Jordan, reportedly enacted by Iran-backed militants, has resulted in the death of three soldiers. This incident marks the first US troops to die from enemy fire in the Middle East since the outbreak of the Gaza war, creating a significant escalation in the region’s volatile situation.
Officials have traced the trajectory of the drone, which they claim originated from Syria. US Central Command verified that the attack killed three service members and injured 25 at a base in northeast Jordan.
The attack has drawn a stern response from President Joe Biden who, while still gathering details, confirmed the assailants to be “radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq”. The President lauded the bravery, duty, and commitment of the service members and pledged that those behind the attack would be held accountable.
Despite over 158 attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, officials have deemed them largely unsuccessful, as they often result in minor injuries and limited infrastructure damage. However, the recent attack prompts questions as to why air defenses were unable to intercept the drone, the first to strike Tower 22 since the attacks began on October 17. US forces stationed at this outpost are assisting Jordan as part of an advisory mission.
US officials are keen to avoid the high tensions across the Middle East expanding into a broader regional war. The US has taken retaliatory action against Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, including last week’s strike on three facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-affiliated groups.
The attack’s arrival comes as the US and Iraq anticipate discussions regarding the future of US military presence in Iraq.