AMMAN, Jordan — Three U.S. service members were killed and several wounded in an unmanned aerial drone attack on U.S. forces in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border, U.S. President Joe Biden and officials said Sunday.
Biden attributed the attack to Iran-backed groups. This first deadly strike against U.S. forces since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October has sent shockwaves through the Middle East.
“While still gathering facts, we know radical Iran-backed militant groups in Syria and Iraq conducted this attack,” Biden stated.
At least 34 personnel are being evaluated for potential traumatic brain injuries, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. Two other officials noted some wounded were evacuated from the base for further treatment.
Officials said the drone struck near barracks early morning, likely causing the high casualty number.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of hardline Iran-backed militants, claimed attacks on three bases, including the Jordan-Syria border one.
This attack escalates tensions in the Middle East, where war in Gaza began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, killing 1,200. Israel’s retaliatory strikes in Gaza have killed over 26,000, the local health ministry reports.
Since then, U.S. forces have faced over 150 attacks by Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, causing 70 casualties, mostly traumatic brain injuries. U.S. warships have also encountered attacks from Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen, targeting commercial ships in Red Sea waters off Yemen’s coast.
Although Washington officially denies being at war in the region, it has retaliated against Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria and struck Yemen’s Houthi military capabilities.
“We will continue fighting terrorism and will hold those responsible accountable at our chosen time and manner,” Biden said in a White House statement.