US launches strikes in response to attack that kills soldiers in Jordan | Conflict News
The United States military has launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in Syria and Iraq in the first retaliation for a drone attack that killed three soldiers at a remote US base in Jordan.
“At my direction, US military forces struck targets at facilities in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militias use to attack US forces,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Friday , referring to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” he said.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that its military forces hit more than 85 targets in the two countries “with several aircraft including long-range bombers flown from the United States”.
“The airstrikes used more than 125 precision weapons,” he said in a statement.
CENTCOM said the facilities hit included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, weapons storage sites and other facilities associated with the militias or the IRGC’s Quds Force, the Guard’s expeditionary unit that ‘ handling Tehran’s relationship and the arms of regional groups.
CENTCOM Report on US Strikes in Iraq and Syria
At 4:00 PM (EST) February 02, US Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups. US military forces… pic.twitter.com/HeLMFDx9zY
— US Central Command (@CENTCOM) February 2, 2024
Three American soldiers were killed and about 40 others were wounded in a drone attack on a military base known as Tower 22 near the Jordanian-Syrian border on Sunday.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of groups linked to Iran, claimed responsibility for the drone attack.
Iran has denied that it led the attack, saying the groups are acting alone.
“The US had said from the moment that attack happened that there would be a military response, and US officials like Joe Biden and Lloyd Austin said the response would come in a number of ways. So this could be the first phase, but these retaliatory US airstrikes have now begun,” Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan said, reporting from the Pentagon.
“This is the first step, I don’t think it will be the last,” she said.
On Friday, Syrian state media reported that an “American attack” on several sites in the Syrian desert areas and the Syrian-Iraq border caused several casualties and injuries.
Iraqi security sources told Al Jazeera that six airstrikes targeted various locations in the country.
“These airstrikes are a violation of Iraqi sovereignty…
‘Transfer with dignity’ of groups
Although the US strikes did not target any locations inside Iran, they are likely to increase concern about tensions in the Middle East spiraling from Israel’s more than three-month war on Gaza.
The strikes come hours after President Biden met with the families of the three soldiers who were killed Sunday – identified as William Jerome Rivers, Kennedy Sanders and Breonna Moffett – as the remains of members arrived US service.
Biden and his wife Jill visited Dover Air Force Base in the US state of Delaware on Friday to honor the soldiers during the “honorable transfer” of their bodies.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CQ Brown, were also in attendance – their presence highlighting the importance, as well as the rarity, of returning dead service members after the US withdrawing from major foreign conflicts.
On Friday, Biden’s statement said that the US “does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world”.
But the US president said: “Let everyone who could harm us know: If you harm an American, we will respond.” “
Earlier this week, when Biden was asked if Iran was responsible for the drone attack, he said, “I hold them responsible, because they are giving the weapons to the people which he did. “
US Republicans have been calling for a powerful response, including directly against Iran.
The Biden administration has suggested that the US response to the drone attack would be a long one, not a single strike.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that it will be a “multi-layered approach” over time. “The first thing you see is not the last thing you see,” he told reporters.