Three U.S. service members were killed and at least two dozen injured in a drone strike in Jordan on Saturday night, near the Syria border where they were stationed, the Pentagon and President Biden confirmed Sunday.
The attack was carried out by “radical Iran-backed militant groups” operating in Iraq and Syria, Biden said in a statement. It marks the first time U.S. service members have been killed by enemy combatants in the Middle East since the onset of the Israel-Gaza war.
“Jill and I join the families and friends of our fallen—and Americans across the country—in grieving the loss of these warriors in this despicable and wholly unjust attack,” Biden said in a statement.
U.S. Central Command also confirmed the deaths in a statement. The identities of those killed are currently being withheld until next of kin are notified.
The Pentagon said called the strike “a One-Way ‘Suicide’ Drone Attack on a Patrol Base” near the Syrian and Iraqi border in northeastern Jordan. At least 25 soldiers were injured.
The attack marks a significant escalation of conflict in the Middle East as Iran-backed militant groups continue to target U.S. bases around the region.
The U.S. conducted an airstrike last week that targeted three militia positions in Iraq. The Iraqi government said the strikes “blatantly” violated its national sovereignty.
Iranian-backed groups have attacked the U.S. more than 150 times in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, following the breakout of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, according to the Pentagon.
“The president and I will not hesitate to take necessary action to defend them and our interests,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement last week. “We call on these groups and their Iranian sponsors to immediately cease these attacks.”
Updated 12 p.m.
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