President Biden promised to ‘respond’ after a drone attack by “radical Iran-backed militant groups” killed three U.S. troops in Jordan over the weekend, plunging the U.S. ever deeper into the burgeoning conflict in the Middle East.
At an event in South Carolina, President Biden addressed the strike and the loss of life. “We lost three brave souls in an attack on one of our bases,” he said, before asking for a moment of silence for the fallen. He broke it by vowing: “We shall respond.”
The soldiers were killed in a drone strike in northeast Jordan on Saturday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, while another 25 service members were injured.
The agency did not disclose the identities of the service members, noting it would wait 24 hours until their families were notified. The deaths mark the first U.S. fatalities from enemy fire amid the war between Israel and Hamas, following a declaration that four Navy SEALS were dead after they disappeared while attempting to seize weapons from the Iran-backed Houthis.
President Biden placed the blame on “radical Iran-backed militant groups” in a sobering statement earlier on Sunday. Jordanian state television quoted kingdom spokesperson Muhannad Al Mubaidin, who claimed the attack took place in Syria, though Biden maintained it took place in Jordan.
“Jill and I join the families and friends of our fallen—and Americans across the country—in grieving the loss of these warriors in this despicable and wholly unjust attack,” Biden said.
“These service members embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country—risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism.”