3 US service members in Jordan killed, others wounded in unmanned drone attack near Syrian border

Biden claimed that radical Iran-backed militant groups in Syria and Iraq were behind the attack.

Jan 29, 2024 - 20:57
 0  18
3 US service members in Jordan killed, others wounded in unmanned drone attack near Syrian border



Three U.S. service members were killed in northeast Jordan near the Syria border during an unmanned aerial drone attack, U.S. president Joe Biden announced in a White House statement on Jan. 28.

In the statement, he claimed that "Iran-backed militant groups" in Syria and Iraq were behind the attack.

At least 34 other US servicemen wounded

Reuters cited an anonymous source, who said the targeted base was Tower 22, in northeastern Jordan. The BBC also cited "U.S. officials" who said the target was Tower 22.

However, the BBC also cited a Jordanian government spokesperson, who told state TV that the attack targeted Al-Tanf, a U.S. military base in Syria instead.

The Al-Tanf base is 20km north of Tower 22 and located within a "deconfliction zone" in Syria, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The Guardian speculated this discrepancy could be due to Jordan not wanting to be embroiled in a potential conflict, if it confirmed the attack took place on its soil.

At least 34 wounded

At least 34 other service members were wounded, according to a statement from the U.S. Central Command, although this number is expected to change as more members seek care.

Eight wounded members were evacuated from Jordan for higher-level care, but are in stable condition.

The statement also said that the names of the affected and deceased service members have not yet been released, as U.S. officials work to notify their families.

Two U.S. officials also told Reuters that the drone struck near the barracks early in the morning, possibly giving rise to the high number of casualties.

Meanwhile, Jordan's state-run news agency Petra said that the "terrorist attack" killed three U.S. "soldiers", though no casualties among Jordan's armed force officers were reported.

Iran-backed militant group in Iraq could be responsible

At present, it is unconfirmed who exactly is behind the attack.

“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,” Biden said.

Although three anonymous officials told AP that the attack was done by an Iraqi group, AP reported that no faction has yet officially claimed responsibility for the attack.

AP also noted that "earlier", an umbrella group of these Iranian-backed factions called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching explosive attacks at targets in Syria and also "occupied Palestine."

Reuters reported the same, saying that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for attacks on U.S. bases including one on the "Jordan-Syria border".

CNN further elaborated that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq put out a statement on Sunday, Jan. 28, that could be seen on its Telegram channel, that it attacked a number of targets along the Jordan-Syria border, including Al-Rukban camp which is located near Tower 22.

Since the Oct. 7 terror attacks by Hamas in southern Israel and the subsequent military offensive into Gaza by Israeli forces, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq have claimed responsibility for multiple attacks against U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq.

Iran denies any involvement in the attack

However, a representative of Iran at the United Nations said Iran denies any involvement in the attack, according to its state news agency IRNA.

In its statement, Iran mentioned Al-Tanf base.

In addition, foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said the claims are "baseless."

CNA quoted Kanaani, as saying the groups "do not take orders from Iran."

'Despicable & wholly unjust': Biden

In the White House statement, Biden called the attack “despicable and wholly unjust”.

“Have no doubt — we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” he added.

While visiting South Carolina during a campaign event, Reuters reported that Biden asked for a moment of silence for the three deceased service members.

“We shall respond,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.

Top image from Joe Biden's Facebook page.

What's Your Reaction?