Three U.S. service members were killed and at least two dozen were injured Saturday night in a drone strike in Jordan, near the Syria border where they were stationed, the Pentagon and President Biden confirmed Sunday.
The attack was carried out by “radical Iran-backed militant groups” operating in Iraq and Syria, Biden said in a statement. It marks the first time U.S. service members have been killed by enemy combatants in the Middle East since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war.
“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 in a statement.
U.S. Central Command also confirmed the deaths in a statement. The identities of those killed are being withheld until next of kin are notified.
The Pentagon called the strike “a One-Way ‘Suicide’ Drone Attack on a Patrol Base” near the Syrian and Iraqi border in northeastern Jordan. At least 25 soldiers were injured.
The attack marks a significant escalation of conflict in the Middle East as Iran-backed militant groups continue to target U.S. bases around the region.
Iranian-backed groups have attacked the U.S. more than 150 times in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, following the breakout of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, according to the Pentagon.
“The president and I will not hesitate to take necessary action to defend them and our interests,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement last week. “We call on these groups and their Iranian sponsors to immediately cease these attacks.”
Updated at noon