Joe Biden: US will respond ‘forcefully’ to Iranian aggression after drone attack
President Biden warned Friday that the United States stands ready to “act forcefully” to protect its citizens from attack after a suspected Iranian-made drone was used in an attack that killed an American contractor and injured his chest. least five soldiers in Syria.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Biden offered his condolences to the families of those lost in the attack and praised the US military for its response.
“Make no mistake, the United States does not…seek conflict with Iran, but be prepared to act forcefully to protect our people,” he said. “That’s exactly what happened last night.”
The Department of Defense said in a statement that the drone used in the attack on a US base in Syria on Thursday appeared to be of Iranian origin and US Central Command said the attack was carried out by “groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). .”
Mr Biden said he learned of the attack while aboard Air Force One en route to Canada and ordered a series of airstrikes targeting those responsible.
The United States carried out the retaliatory strikes on Thursday evening, with two Air Force F-15E fighter jets targeting an ammunition warehouse and an intelligence gathering site in eastern Syria.
An opposition war watcher said the US strike toll included at least 11 Iranian-backed fighters, including six at an arms depot in the Harabesh neighborhood of the city of Deir el-Zour and five others at military posts near the towns of Mayadeen and Boukamel, the Associated Press reported.
Just hours after the US retaliatory strikes, a US military base in northeast Syria came under rocket fire, officials said. Pentagon officials have not said who they believe was responsible for Friday morning’s attack, but the timing of the assault on the Green Village site suggests Iranian-backed militias may be involved.
No Americans were injured and no equipment was damaged in Friday’s attack, officials said, but one of the rockets hit a nearby home. Two women and two children were lightly injured, the Pentagon said.
Military officials in the region suggested the United States was ready for larger strikes if the attacks continued.
“We will continue to maintain our efforts to counter terrorist threats in the region and our partnerships with Canada and other members of the coalition to defeat ISIS,” Biden said.
The US force is in Syria on a mission to suppress the Islamic State, but has been caught up in the confusing struggle for control of Syria, which includes Syrian government forces, Kurdish groups, radicals Islamists such as ISIS, Syrian rebel forces and Russian and Iranian elements supporting the regime of President Bashar Assad.
A militia with links to Iran is believed to have been responsible for the deadly attack on the coalition’s main military base in northeast Syria, with the drone attack taking place while the main air defense system of the base was “not fully operational”, US military officials said.
– Ben Wolfgang contributed to this story, which was based in part on news service reports.