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US to take 'all necessary actions' after airstrike kills 3 soldiers, amid warnings of impact on Gaza hostage talks
30 January 2024, 05:35
The US has vowed to take "all necessary actions" in response to the death of three of its soldiers in an airstrike in Jordan over the weekend.
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William Rivers, Kennedy Sanders, and Breonna Moffett were killed when their base was struck with "little warning" by a drone said to have been launched by Iran-backed groups.
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 is the first in which American service members have been killed.
There are warnings that the Middle East faces being engulfed into a full-scale regional conflict amid the ongoing war in Gaza.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said he felt "outrage and sorrow" for the three soldiers' deaths "and for the other troops who were wounded."
He added: "The president and I will not tolerate attacks on U.S. forces and we will take all necessary actions to defend the U.S. and our troops."
Meanwhile US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the US' response "could be multi-levelled, come in stages and be sustained over time."
But the White House has also said it does not want a war with Iran, and suggested that Tehran feels the same way.
"We are not seeking a conflict with the regime in the military way," national security spokesperson John Kirby said.
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.
Pentagon's former Middle East Advisor explains what will happen next after Iran-backed drone strike kills US troops
It comes as the US, Qatar and other countries try to mediate a deal to release more of the remaining 130 hostages that Hamas took from Israel.
Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al Thani said that he hoped that "nothing would undermine the efforts that we are doing or jeopardise the process."
The Paris talks are said to be progressing constructively, although Israel previously rejected a deal that would have seen it forced to withdraw troops from Gaza and leave Hamas to run the territory.
Meanwhile the UK's Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that Britain "will do everything [it] can" to avoid the conflict escalating as he embarked on his latest trip to the region.
The drone which led to the three soldiers' deaths in Jordan may have got into the US base by mistake.
The Iranian drone arrived at the same time as a returning American drone, meaning parts of the base's defence system were down.
It means the drone may have been confused with an American drone returning to the US installation.
As the enemy drone was flying in at a low altitude, a US drone was returning to the small desert installation known as Tower 22 and may have been allowed to pass by mistake, according to a preliminary report cited by the officials, who were not authorised to comment and insisted on anonymity.
As a result, there was no effort to shoot down the enemy drone that hit the outpost early on Sunday morning.
The US troops at the outpost use trailers for their sleeping quarters.
Officials said that of the 34 wounded troops, most had cuts, bruises, traumatic brain injuries and similar wounds.
Eight were medically evacuated and the most seriously hurt service member is in a critical but stable condition.
The attack has "Iranian fingerprints on it", the Pentagon said.
A former CIA Director has warned a major war could engulf the Middle East - following a drone strike on a US military base in Jordan.
Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, John Brennan siad the US is like to attack proxy targets in Iraq and Syria in response.