WASHINGTON – The United States has pledged to take “all necessary actions” to protect its forces after a drone attack by Iran-backed militants in Jordan killed three US troops.
The attack, the first fatal assault on US forces since the Israel-Hamas conflict began in October, represents a significant escalation in regional tensions.
White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby stated Monday that while the US aims to avoid a broader conflict with Iran or in the region, it remains committed to defending its forces. President Joe Biden has previously authorized retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed groups but has refrained from direct action against Iran. “We will hold those responsible accountable at a time and place of our choosing,” Biden affirmed.
In Gaza, Israel intensified operations in Gaza City, leading to casualties and widespread destruction. The Israeli military has shifted focus from northern to southern Gaza, with recent attacks suggesting a protracted conflict.
Amidst these developments, the Biden administration faces the challenge of responding to the drone strike without sparking a wider war. Efforts are also underway to facilitate a hostage release by Hamas in Gaza, following the militants’ incursion into southern Israel in October.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al Thani, speaking at a Washington think tank, expressed hope that US retaliation would not hinder progress in hostage release negotiations.
CIA Director William Burns, alongside Israeli and Egyptian intelligence chiefs, held talks in Paris with Sheikh Mohammed. The discussions, termed constructive by all parties, aim to reinvigorate Qatar-mediated negotiations.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the potential for resuming the negotiating process, citing a “strong and compelling” framework developed in Paris. He emphasized Hamas’ role in deciding the proposal’s future, while refraining from disclosing specific details.