A drone that killed three US troops in Jordan likely went undetected and there was no air defense on site capable of shooting it down, according to a new assessment. The Iranian-made device was probably missed ‘due to its low flight path,’ a US defense official told The Washington Post.
The findings contradict previous reports the [self-murder] drone was mistaken for an American device and was allowed to pass through defenses at the Tower 22 base undetected. The January 28 attack killed Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, Specialist Breonna Moffett (pictured left), 23, and Sgt. William Rivers, 46, and injured more than 40 other troops.
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabina Singh said officials are still conducting an investigation into the strike, which took place near the Syrian border. The death of the soldiers prompted a wave of bombing hitting various Middle East targets. ‘We’re still assessing exactly what happened in that attack. And of course, CENTCOM and the [Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin] will determine if there’s any change or needs to be any change to our defensive posture at Tower 22 or any other base in the region. But I just don’t have more for you on that specific attack,’ she told The Hill.
She also refused to disclose how many Middle East bases used by US troops do not have air defense systems capable of shooting down attack drones, citing operational security. ‘For the most part, our air defenses have been able to catch or been able to destroy any impact or any incoming … rockets or drones at bases,’ Singh added in an attempt to allay concerns US troops at other bases were unprotected.
She also stated troops would not be consolidated at bases with air defenses amid increased attacks in the area. ‘Across Iraq and Syria and Jordan, the mission of the service members is the defeat ISIS mission. So moving our troops and our service members into different areas takes away from their mission. That’s what they’re there for, that’s what they’re there to do,’ Singh said.
The [self-murder] drone was launched from Iraq by a militia backed by Tehran, according to US officials, and hit the base which sits close to the borders of both Iraq and Syria. The [self-murder] strike comes as conflict in the war-torn region continues to escalate, with the war between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza still ongoing, and Iran currently exchanging airstrikes with US-ally Pakistan.
President Joe Biden vowed to respond in the aftermath of the attack and unleashed B-1 bombers and other US forces to conduct strikes against more than 85 targets across seven locations. Iran has denied it was behind the Jordan attack.
But John Kirby (pictured), a spokesperson for the National Security Council, warned the strikes over the weekend were ‘just the beginning.’ ‘Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,’ Biden warned. ‘Let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.’
He and other top U.S. leaders had been saying for days that any American response wouldn’t be just one hit but a ‘tiered response’ over time.
Kirby added that the targets ‘were carefully selected to avoid civilian casualties and based on clear, irrefutable evidence that they were connected to attacks on U.S. personnel in the region.’ He declined to detail what that evidence was. The strikes took place over about 30 minutes, and three of the sites struck were in Iraq and four were in Syria, said Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, director of the Joint Staff.
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