United States Central Command released a statement Sunday saying three American service members were killed and dozens injured from an unmanned aerial drone attack on a base in Jordan near the Syrian border.
The initial statement stated 25 others sustained injuries, but the count rose to over 30 throughout the day.
Review the press release from United States Central Command:
🚨#BREAKING: United States Central Command has released a statement declaring that 3 U.S. service members have been killed and that 25 others were injured in an attack on a base near the Syrian border pic.twitter.com/sI09YlDMvQ
Mr. Biden said the attack happened at a base in northeast Jordan, a U.S. ally, close to the border with Syria. A U.S. official said the attack occurred at an outpost known as Tower 22.
U.S. Central Command, which oversees forces in the Middle East, initially put the number of injured at 25, but two U.S. officials soon said that figure had risen to more than 30. Eight of the wounded service members had to be evacuated — some were in critical condition but all were stable, a defense official told CBS News.
CENTCOM said the identities of those killed would be withheld for 24 hours after their families had been notified.
Mr. Biden called the attack “despicable and wholly unjust,” vowing that the U.S. “will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing.” The White House said the president was briefed on the attack Sunday morning and met with top aides, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, again in the afternoon.
In the first official statement on the attack, staunch U.S. ally Jordan said it was working with Washington to fight terrorism. Earlier, a government spokesperson had said the attack was on a U.S. base in Syria adjacent to the border but not on Jordanian soil.
A senior Jordanian security source told Reuters that Jordan had recently appealed for more advanced U.S. defence hardware and support because of worries Iran and its proxies could become embroiled more deeply in any wider Middle East conflagration.
Jordan has recently alerted Washington to the urgent need to bolster its defences against Iranian-backed militias building up their strength on Jordan’s borders with Iraq and Syria, the official said.
There has been growing concern within the Jordanian military and security establishment that Iranian militias who now hold sway in southern Syria were exploiting the Gaza war to achieve a security breakthrough.
Jordan condemned on Sunday the “terrorist attack” on a military advance post just inside its border with Syria and said it was cooperating with Washington to secure its frontier.
In the first official statement on the attack, US ally Jordan said it was working with Washington to fight terrorism. Earlier, Jordanian state television quoted Muhannad Mubaidin, a spokesperson for Jordan’s government, as saying the attack happened outside of the kingdom across the border in Syria.
The deaths are the first fatalities of US troops in the Middle East since Israel’s war on Gaza began on October 7.
According to CNN, one-way attack drones hit Tower 22, a small US outpost in Jordan near the Syrian border. Over 30 troops were also wounded in the attack.
Since mid-October, US bases in Iraq and Syria have come under attack over 150 times in response to US support for the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. The overnight drone attack in Jordan appears to be the first time Tower 22 was targeted.
President Biden released a statement blaming the attack on “Iran-backed militant groups,” referring to Shia militias that operate in Iraq and Syria.
A spokesman for the Jordanian government initially said the attack happened in Syria, not in Jordanian territory. But later, Jordan appeared to confirm it happened on its side of the border.
“Jordan condemned the terrorist attack that targeted an outpost on the border with Syria, killing three US soldiers and injuring two others from the US forces that are cooperating with Jordan in countering terrorism and securing the border,” Jordan News Agency reported.