American forces are already gearing up to respond to the attack, according to multiple media reports
Washington believes that Iran manufactured the drone which was used to kill three American soldiers in Jordan over the weekend, US officials told Reuters on Thursday. The US is reportedly planning a lengthy bombing campaign against Iran-aligned militias in Iraq and Syria in response.
A drone packed with explosives struck a remote US outpost in Jordan on Sunday, killing three American soldiers and injuring dozens more. The strike marked the first time that American lives were lost after months of attacks on US bases in the region by various militant groups working in solidarity with Hamas.
US analysts concluded that the drone was of Iranian origin after analyzing fragments from the blast site, the officials told Reuters, without giving any further information about the precise model of drone they suspect was used.
The White House has already blamed the attack on members of the ‘Islamic Resistance’, an umbrella group of Iranian-armed militias operating across Iraq and Syria. However, no senior US officials have publicly stated that Iran manufactured the weapon which was responsible for the death of the servicemen. US President Joe Biden, however, said on Tuesday that he holds Tehran responsible, “in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it.”
Asked about Reuters’ report later on Thursday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Pentagon was “still doing the forensics” on the drone, adding that “most of the drones that are in the region have a connection with Iran.”
Iran denies having orchestrated the attack; the Foreign Ministry in Tehran stated on Monday that the militias “do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“How much Iran knew or didn’t know, we don’t know,” Austin told reporters. “But it really doesn’t matter because Iran sponsors these groups, it funds these groups, and in some cases, it trains these groups on advanced, conventional weapons.”
The US will carry out a series of strikes on “Iranian personnel and facilities” in Iraq and Syria in response to the drone attack, CBS News reported on Thursday, citing anonymous US officials. Sources told CBS the strikes would take place over several days, while NBC News quoted the same officials as saying that the campaign could last weeks.
Iran will “decisively respond” to any attacks on “the country, its interests and nationals under any pretexts,” Tehran’s envoy to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, warned on Tuesday.