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USA responds to deadly drone attack with counterstrikes

USA responds to deadly drone attack with counterstrikes

Pro-Iranian militias have been attacking the US military in the Middle East for months. An attack on a base in Jordan left three US soldiers dead. Now the Americans are fighting back.

After the violent deaths of three US soldiers in Jordan near the Syrian border, the US said it launched retaliatory attacks on targets in Syria and Iraq. The air strikes targeted more than 85 targets linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the militias they support, the US military said on Friday. The US regional command Centcom said that command centers, intelligence sites and weapons depots used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and militias affiliated with them were bombed from the air. Syrian state media reports US attacks on areas in Syria, including near the border with Iraq.

President Joe Biden has meanwhile promised further military action in the Middle East. “Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” Biden said in a written statement. “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world,” he stressed. “But for all those who wish to harm us, know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

USA retaliates after killing of US soldiers

A week ago there were deaths in an attack on US troops in the Middle East for the first time since the start of the Gaza war in early October. Three American soldiers died in a drone attack in northeastern Jordan near the border with Syria, US President Joe Biden announced on Sunday (local time). Around 40 other soldiers were injured. Biden blamed radical Iranian-backed militias. Iran had denied involvement. With the attack on the US soldiers, tensions in the region had once again increased significantly.

On Wednesday, the US government officially attributed the attack to a group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which had previously claimed responsibility for the attack.

It is a kind of umbrella group for pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, which have been operating together under this general name since the terrorist attacks by the Islamist Hamas on October 7th in Israel. This includes the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah. It is one of the strongest militias in Iraq and is calling for the withdrawal of US troops from the country. Northeast Jordan, where the deadly attack on US soldiers occurred, borders both Syria and Iraq.

Action against the militias is a balancing act for US President Biden

Since the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas began in October, pro-Iranian militias have carried out almost daily attacks on US military bases in Iraq and Syria. The US government responded with air strikes in both countries. In addition, the Yemeni Houthis – in solidarity with Hamas – repeatedly attack freighters in the Red Sea. In response, the US and Britain, with the support of allies, carried out military strikes against the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. The US air strikes have not yet deterred the militias from further attacks. Concerns about escalation are growing.

For US President Biden, the action against the militias is a balancing act. On the one hand, he wants to avoid his country being drawn into a regional war in the Middle East. On the other hand, he wants to show strength and bring an end to the attacks. At the same time, he is under pressure in the USA – some Republicans are calling for more aggressive countermeasures to the attacks against the US military.

Note: This article has been updated several times.

Source: Stern

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