Three American service members were killed and at least 34 were wounded in a drone strike on a US base in Jordan on Sunday, January 28, 2024. President Joe Biden said the attack was carried out by “radical Iran-backed militant groups” operating in Syria and Iraq, and vowed to respond at a time and manner of his choosing.
The attack, which occurred near the Syrian border, was the first US fatality after months of strikes against American forces across the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war. The US officials said the drone was large and sophisticated, and that they were working to identify the precise group responsible for the attack.
Biden said the US “will hold all those responsible to account” and blamed Iran for supporting the militias that have been targeting US and coalition forces in the region. He said Iran’s actions were destabilizing and threatening the security of the Middle East and the world.
The attack came as the US and Iraq are expected to begin talks about the future of the US military presence in the country. The US has about 2,500 troops in Iraq, mainly to train and advise Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The US has also conducted several airstrikes against Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria in recent months, in retaliation for their attacks on US and coalition forces.
The attack also raised the risk of military escalation in the region, as Iran-backed fighters in east Syria began evacuating their posts, fearing US airstrikes. The US has been trying to avoid a broader regional conflict and to deter the Iranian proxies from further attacks.
The US has also been involved in diplomatic efforts to end the Israel-Hamas war, which has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced more than half a million in Gaza. The US has been urging both sides to agree to a ceasefire and to resume negotiations for a lasting peace.