Three U.S. service members in Jordan killed by Iran-backed militias

Iran-backed militias killed three U.S. service members and injured 25 in a drone attack on a base in northeast Jordan near the Syrian border. It’s the single worst incident of deaths and injuries of US personnel in the region since the uptick of attacks by Iran-backed militias following the start of the Oct. 7 war in Gaza, and the first militia attack on U.S. forces in Jordan.

“On Jan. 28, three US servicemembers were killed and 25 injured from a one-way attack UAS [unmanned aircraft system] that impacted a base in northeast Jordan, near the Syria border,” said a CENTCOM statement.

President Biden said that the US was gathering information about the incident but blamed Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria for the attack.

“While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq,” Biden said.

Earlier today, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a grouping of Iraqi and Syrian militias and front organizations of Iran, published a statement claiming responsibility for attacking Israel and several locations in Syria with drones, including al-Tanf, located near the Syrian-Jordanian border.

“The Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq attacked at dawn today, Sunday, January 28, 2024, using drones, four enemy bases, three of which are in Syria. They are Al-Shaddadi Base, Al-Rukban Base, and al-Tanf Base, and the fourth is inside our occupied Palestinian territories.”

The Iranian-backed militias have launched more than 150 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, and now in Jordan, since Hamas initiated a war with Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. Before today’s attack that killed three American soldiers, scores of troops had been injured in the attacks.

The Biden administration responded to the militia attacks by sporadically striking at the militias in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. military has launched eight strikes in Iraq and Syria in response to the onslaught. Iran, which organizes, funds, trains, and equips and directs these militias, has been off limit as the Biden administration fears escalation in the region.

Joe Truzman is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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