White House blames Iran-backed militia for deadly drone strike

White House blames Iran-backed militia for deadly drone strike

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The White House has blamed an Iran-backed militia for a deadly drone strike on an American base in Jordan, as the US considers how to hit back.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said US intelligence believed the Islamic Resistance in Iraq was responsible for Sunday’s attack.

President Joe Biden has said without elaborating that he has already decided what the US response will be.

The strike killed three US soldiers and injured at least 40 other US troops.

The “attribution that our intelligence community is comfortable with is that this was done by the umbrella group”, said Mr Kirby in a daily press briefing on Wednesday.

He was referring to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which has already claimed responsibility for the strike.

The national security spokesman repeated that the US response would be “in a time and in a manner of our choosing, on our schedule”.

“Just because you haven’t seen anything in the last 48 hours, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to see anything,” he said.

“The first thing you see won’t be the last thing,” he added.

Mr Biden has said he does not want a wider conflict in the Middle East, which has already been destabilised by the Israel Gaza war that erupted in October.

Iran has denied any role in the attack.

At an event on Wednesday, Revolutionary Guard commander Major General Hossein Salami, who advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Tehran hears the “threats coming from American officials”.

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“No threat will be left unanswered”, he added.

His remarks came a day after Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, told Iranian journalists in New York that Tehran would “decisively respond” to any attack on the country, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

While Washington weighs its response, Kataib Hezbollah, part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, said on Tuesday it had suspended operations against US forces to avoid causing “embarrassment” to the Iraqi government.

Three American soldiers who were based at Fort Moore, in the US state of Georgia, died in the drone strike in north-eastern Jordan.

At least 41 National Guard members were injured, US officials confirmed on Wednesday.

The injured soldiers are from units based in Arizona, California, Kentucky and New York.

Twenty-seven were able to return to duty while 14 others continue to be medically evaluated, the US National Guard Bureau said.

A map covering Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey, with attacks on US bases marked with red circles. Most are in Syria and Iraq

Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman