US troops may have been killed by mistaking drone for own



The explanation for how the enemy drone evaded US air defences came as the White House said it’s not looking for war with Iran even as Biden vows retaliatory action. The administration believes Tehran was behind the strike.

Biden met with national security advisers in the White House Situation Room to discuss the latest developments and potential retaliation.

“There’s no easy answer here,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. “And that’s why the president is meeting with his national security team weighing the options before him.”

The brazen attack, which the Biden administration blames on Iranian-based proxies, adds another layer of complexity to an already tense Mideast situation as the Biden administration tries to keep the Israel-Hamas war from expanding into a broader regional conflict.

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“The president and I will not tolerate attacks on US forces, and we will take all necessary actions to defend the US and our troops,” Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said as he met at the Pentagon with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The drone attack was one of dozens on US troops in the Middle East since Hamas launched attacks on Israel on October 7, igniting the war in Gaza. But it’s the first in which American service members have been killed.

Biden promised to “hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner (of) our choosing” but said the US wasn’t seeking to get into another conflict in the Middle East.

Kirby also made clear that American patience has worn thin after more than two months of attacks by Iranian proxies on US troops in Iraq, Syria and Jordan and on US Navy and commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The proxy groups, including Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Iraq-based Kataeb Hezbollah, say the attacks are in response to Israel’s ongoing military operations in Gaza.

“We are not looking for a war with Iran,” Kirby told reporters. “That said, this was a very serious attack. It had lethal consequences. We will respond, and we respond appropriately.”

Iran has denied it was behind the Jordan strike.

‘[The drone attack is] yet another horrific and tragic consequence of Joe Biden’s weakness and surrender.’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

“These claims are made with specific political goals to reverse the realities of the region,” Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani as saying. Iran regularly denies involvement in attacks linked back to it through the militias it arms across the wider Mideast.

Kirby said that US officials are still working through determining which militant group was behind the attack. He noted that Iran has longed equipped and trained the militias.

Republicans have laid blame on Biden for doing too little to deter Iranian militias, which have carried out approximately 165 attacks on US troops in the region since the start of the war.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has called the attack “yet another horrific and tragic consequence of Joe Biden’s weakness and surrender.”

The attack hit a US military desert outpost in the far reaches of northeastern Jordan known as Tower 22. The installation sits near the demilitarised zone on the border between Jordan and Syria along a sandy, bulldozed berm marking the DMZ’s southern edge. The Iraqi border is only 10 kilometres away.

AP



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