A statement released Sunday night revealed that the U.S. military raised the count of injured personnel in the drone attack on a Jordan military base, resulting in three fatalities, to a minimum of 34.
According to a statement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), eight troops needed medical evacuation from Jordan to receive advanced care at an undisclosed site. Fortunately, all of them are currently in stable condition. CENTCOM also reported that approximately 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel are stationed at a facility referred to as Tower 22. They are engaged in logistical support and collaborate with the Jordanian military to aid the multinational campaign against the Islamic State.
CENTCOM mentioned that the count of injured personnel in the attack may rise further.
According to a U.S. official who spoke to The New York Times, an explosive-laden drone crashed in the vicinity of the base’s living quarters, resulting in injuries of differing severity, such as minor cuts and brain trauma. The majority of the affected troops were reservists.
Three U.S. military personnel have been killed in a drone attack on a military base in Jordan
Twenty-five service members were also injured. This is the first confirmed U.S. military death in the Middle East since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip.
The drones hit the Tower… pic.twitter.com/ABFPhQR5dl
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) January 28, 2024
In a statement on Sunday afternoon, President Joe Biden attributed the attack to militant groups with Iranian backing while acknowledging that a comprehensive assessment of the incident was still in progress. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also issued a statement condemning the attack, refraining from specifying the responsible party or the origin of the drone.
Biden commented, “Three U.S. service members were killed, and many wounded, during an unmanned aerial drone attack on our forces stationed in northeast Jordan near the Syria border. 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.”
On Sunday, later in the day, President Biden pledged to respond to the loss of three troops.
According to The New York Times, a loose alliance of militants supported by Iran claimed credit for the assault, characterizing it as a “continuation of our approach to resisting the American occupation forces in Iraq and the region.”
The New York Times reported that Iran denied any involvement in the attacks.
As of Monday, the reason for the failure of air defenses to intercept and destroy the drone remained uncertain. According to U.S. officials cited by The Wall Street Journal, there is a possibility that troops at the base may have mistaken the approaching enemy drone for a U.S. drone that was returning to the base around the same time.
The Pentagon has reported that Iranian-backed militants have targeted U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Syria in approximately 160 incidents.