Three American soldiers have died near the border with Jordan in a drone bombing that has been claimed by pro-Iran militias in Iraq, in what marks the first deadly attack against US troops since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas in October.
In a statement, the president of the United States, Joe Bidenattributed the attack to Iranian-backed militias operating in Syria and Iraqalthough it did not precisely identify the group responsible.
Although Washington has not yet identified the perpetrators, the pro-Iranian militia group Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility this Sunday for several attacks against positions in Syria and Iraq and assumed responsibility for the deadly attack against US troops.
According to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), The attack killed three soldiers, whose identities have not yet been released.and left at least 25 injured.
Where did the attack occur?
There are different versions about the exact location of the attack: the United States claims that it occurred at a military base in northeastern Jordan, near the border with Syria, while the Jordanian government maintains that it took place outside its territory and targeted a American base in Syria.
Jordan is one of the main US allies in the region, but the presence of hundreds of US troops in its territory is a sensitive issue because the majority of the Jordanian population rejects the aid that Washington is providing to Israel for its offensive on the Gaza Strip.
According to US media, citing US officials, The attack occurred against a military base in Jordan called ‘Tower 22’, which is strategically located at the most northwestern point of Jordanian territory, where its borders meet those of Syria and Iraq.
‘Tower 22’ is located near another US military garrison called ‘Al Tanf’, located in Syria very close to the border with Jordan and which, since 2016, has hhas been key to operations against the terrorist group Islamic State (EI), as detailed by the International Crisis Group organization on its website.
The Pentagon has not specified which military base was attacked; but US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the affected troops were deployed in a mission to achieve the “lasting defeat” of IS.
How will the United States respond?
Biden, who was campaigning in South Carolina this Sunday, promised in a statement that those responsible will be held accountable “at a time and in a manner” that the United States chooses.
Later, during an event at a South Carolina church, Biden gave a speech to hundreds of parishioners in which he stated: “We had a difficult day last night in the Middle East. We lost three brave men in an attack on one of our bases.”
Afterwards, he asked for a moment of silence and broke it with two words: “and we will respond.”
Faced with the imminence of a US response, various pro-Iran groups in eastern Syria are “relocating”while several militias have deployed trucks with rocket launchers to counter possible US bombings, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The death of three American soldiers further aggravates the already fragile situation in the Middle Eastwhere tension has skyrocketed since the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, where 1,200 people lost their lives, and to which Israeli forces responded with an offensive in the Gaza Strip that has left more than 26,000 Palestinians dead.
Since the beginning of this conflict, pro-Iran militias in Iraq have carried out more than a hundred attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria, causing at least 70 injuries, mostly soldiers with traumatic brain injuries.
Additionally, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have been attacking commercial ships that transit through the Red Sea.
However, until now, None of these attacks had caused fatalities among the American ranks.