Sunak urges Iran to 'de-escalate' after deadly drone attack on US soldiers in Jordan, as Trump warns of World War 3

29 January 2024, 12:31

Rishi Sunak has condemned the drone strike on US troops
Rishi Sunak has condemned the drone strike on US troops. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

Rishi Sunak has condemned a drone attack that killed three American soldiers in Jordan, as he urged Iran to "de-escalate tensions" in the Middle East.

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The Prime Minister said that he was "concerned" about Saturday's deadly attack, which the US has blamed on "radical Iran-backed militant groups".

The strikes, which also left 34 injured, came against the backdrop of the war between Israel and Hamas, who are backed by Iran, as well as the US and UK's attacks on the Yemeni Houthis, another group of Tehran proxies.

Mr Sunak said: "We are concerned and would urge Iran to continue to de-escalate tensions in the region.

"We absolutely condemn what has happened over the past couple of days.

"My thoughts are with all of those impacted, those who lost their lives, their families and those that are injured.

"We stand resolutely with our allies to bring stability and peace to the region. And that's what we'll continue to work towards."

Read More: Three US troops killed in Jordan by drone strike blamed on 'Iran-backed militants' by Biden

Read More: 'We are on the brink of World War Three,' says Donald Trump after three US soldiers killed in drone strike in Jordan

Victoria Atkins: 'There has to be a de-escalation...we condemn these attacks very, very strongly'

The PM's comments came after US presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that the attacks showed that World War Three was in the offing.

Trump also blamed the "weakness" of Joe Biden, the current president and his rival for the White House in November, for the Saturday night attacks.

Mr Trump said: "This brazen attack on the United States is yet another horrific and tragic consequence of Joe Biden’s weakness and surrender.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty

"Three years ago, Iran was weak, broke, and totally under control. Thanks to my maximum pressure policy, the Iranian regime could barely scrape two dollars together to fund their terrorist proxies."

He added: "This attack would never have happened if I was president, not even a chance – just like the Iranian-backed Hamas attack on Israel would never have happened, the war in Ukraine would never have happened, and we would right now have peace throughout the world.

"Instead, we are on the brink of World War Three".

Joe Biden has blamed the attacks on Iran-backed militias
Joe Biden has blamed the attacks on Iran-backed militias. Picture: Getty

The strike was reportedly targeted at troops sleeping in tents in the Middle East region.

The attack has resulted in the first deaths of US service personnel since the renewed outbreak of conflict in the region after the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

"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," President Biden said in a statement.

President Joe Biden speaks at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
"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," President Joe Biden said in a statement. Picture: Alamy

"We will carry on their commitment to fight terrorism," Mr Biden continued.

"And have no doubt - we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing."

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins called for de-escalation in the region.

"There has to be a de-escalation by Iranian-backed rebels and militia because this cannot be allowed to continue," she said as she condemned the attacks.

Donald Trump condemned the attacks
Donald Trump condemned the attacks. Picture: Getty

The UK's foreign secretary David Cameron said earlier: "We strongly condemn attacks by Iran-aligned militia groups against US forces. We continue to urge Iran to de-escalate in the region.

"Our thoughts are with those US personnel who have lost their lives and all those who have sustained injuries, as well as their families."

Jordan is used as a basing point in the region for the US, with 3,000 troops stationed there typically.

Since the war in Gaza began, US troops have come under fire in Iraq and Syria - but this attack is the first to take place outside of the chaotic conflict-laden countries.

Mr Biden, who was in Columbia, South Carolina, on Sunday, was briefed by defence secretary Lloyd Austin, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer.

Syria is still in the midst of a civil war and has long been a launch pad for Iranian-backed forces there, including the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Iraq has multiple Iranian-backed Shiite militias operating there as well.

Jordan, a staunch western ally and a crucial power in Jerusalem for its oversight of holy sites there, is suspected of launching airstrikes in Syria to disrupt drug smugglers, including one that killed nine people earlier this month.