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U.S. officials say chaos preceded deadly drone attack in Jordan

The Pentagon on Monday identified the dead soldiers as Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Special Agent Kennedy Laden Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia; and Special Agent Kennedy Laden Sanders, 24, of Savannah, Georgia. The trio, 23-year-old Special Agent Breanna Alex Sendria Moffitt, are assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, a force stationed at Fort Moore, Georgia. Army Reserves.

The drone attack on Tower 22, an outpost in northeastern Jordan close to the Syrian-Iraqi border, led to an escalation of hostilities in the region that has been in turmoil since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza. Hostilities have been intensifying.

A military investigation is underway to determine what went wrong. Pentagon officials said the base’s air defense system was operating normally early Sunday. Weather is not a factor.

One theory being explored by military officials is that militants studied the flight patterns of U.S. drones and deliberately placed attack drones near returning U.S. drones to make them harder to detect. Militia planners could have used Google Earth imagery of the base to guide explosive-laden drones toward the center of large-scale targets such as residential areas.

Biden has vowed retaliation, meeting with top national security aides for a second day on Monday to discuss possible targets in Syria, Iraq and Iran. Senior U.S. officials said that although the U.S. military has taken action, a direct attack on Iraq is unlikely. Plans have been made to attack Iranian military advisers and trainers in Iraq and Syria if U.S. troops are killed by Iranian-backed militias in the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III condemned the attacks and vowed revenge on his first day back at the Pentagon after undergoing surgery last month for prostate cancer.

Mr Austin said before meeting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg: “First of all, I express my anger and sadness over the deaths of three brave American troops in Jordan and the other wounded soldiers. The President and I will not do this. .”Tolerate attacks on U.S. forces and we will take any action necessary to defend America and our military.” “

Jordan’s drone strikes underscore that Iran-backed militias – whether in Iran, Syria or the Houthis in Yemen – remain capable of inflicting serious consequences on U.S. forces despite efforts to weaken them and avoid being drawn into a wider conflict. Probably something to do with Iran itself.

The Pentagon said on Monday that U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria and Jordan have been attacked at least 165 times since October, including 66 in Iraq and 98 in Syria, as well as Sunday’s attack in Jordan. More than 80 troops suffered injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, in attacks before the latest salvo.

“We know Iran supports these groups,” National Security Council moderate John F. Kirby said Monday. “We know they provide resources to them, we know they train them. We know they certainly will not prevent these attacks.”

But Kirby added, “Intelligence analysts will look at the extent of their orders and guidance.”

During a briefing with producers on Monday, Mr Kirby and Ms Singh were pressed repeatedly on when and how the US would respond, but they declined to comment on specific options. They stressed that the government was seeking to avoid a wider war in the region, although they blamed the attack for escalating tensions.

“We don’t want a war with Iran,” Kirby said, “but the attacks have to stop.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that he would not “communicate” any potential U.S. response but that such actions “could be layered, phased and sustained over time.”

Mr Blinken added: “The Middle East is in an extremely volatile time. I don’t think we have seen a situation as dangerous as what we are facing now in the region since at least 1973, and even before that there were disputes .”

Iran on Monday denied any link to the attack and blamed Washington for stoking tensions in the region.

Around 350 Army and Air Force personnel are deployed at the Tower 22 border post. The post serves as a logistics and supply hub for the Al Tanf garrison near southeastern Syria, where U.S. forces work with local Syrian partners to combat the remnants of the Islamic State.

A U.S. military official said the unidirectional attack drone struck the outpost’s living quarters, causing minor injuries and serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries. Eight U.S. service members were flown to Iraq for medical treatment, and three of them are expected to be flown there for treatment. Ms Singh said they were flown to Germany for more advanced treatment.

Ms. Singer said soldiers and airmen lived in shipping container houses, which are basically aluminum boxes that are slightly larger than commercial shipping containers. They have linoleum floors and a crib or bed inside and can be easily transported by truck.

“What was different about this attack was where it landed,” Singh said. “It was early in the morning, so people were actually in bed when the drone hit.”

Michael Crowley Contributed reporting.

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