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'We are on the brink of World War Three,' says Donald Trump after three US soldiers killed in drone strike in Jordan
29 January 2024, 06:08 | Updated: 29 January 2024, 09:52
Donald Trump has claimed that the US is on the brink of a third world war after three American soldiers were killed by drone strikes in Jordan.
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The presidential hopeful blamed the "weakness" of Joe Biden, the current president and his rival for the White House in November, for the Saturday night attacks, which also left 34 injured.
Mr Biden said that the attacks were carried out by "radical Iran-backed militant groups".
Britain has also condemned the drone strikes, which came against the backdrop of the war between Israel and Hamas, which is backed by Iran, as well as the US and UK's attacks on the Yemeni Houthis, another group of Tehran proxies.
Mr Trump said: "This brazen attack on the United States is yet another horrific and tragic consequence of Joe Biden’s weakness and surrender.
"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".
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.
"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.
Victoria Atkins: 'There has to be a de-escalation...we condemn these attacks very, very strongly'
The UK's foreign secretary David Cameron said: "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."
The identities of the military service members will be withheld for 24 hours until their families can be told the news, according to the US military.
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.