The Biden administration is preparing a wave of strikes and cyber attacks that could last ‘weeks’ in response to the Iranian-backed drone attack that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby made repeated comments Wednesday about the duration of the the coming U.S. response, preparing the public for a response he made clear would be more than a one-off.
‘The first thing you see won’t be the last thing,’ Kirby said.
‘We will do what we need to do to make sure that those responsible are held properly accountable,’ he vowed.
He also went further than previously when attributing the broader group that U.S. intelligence assesses perpetrated the attack.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby spoke about the coming U.S. response to the drone attack that killed three U.S. troops. ‘The first thing you see won’t be the last thing,’ he said
‘We believe that the attack in Jordan was was planned, resourced, and facilitated by an umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which contains multiple groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah.’
But he held back on definitive statements. ‘This certainly has the earmarks of the kinds of things that Kata’ib Hezbollah does.’
‘The attribution that the intelligence community’s comfortable with, this was done by the umbrella group called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq,’ Kirby said.
U.S. officials have given public and private signals that the operation it is planning will be multi-faceted.
Officials told NBC News it will include Iranian targets outside Iran and would consist of both strikes and cyber operations.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said it will be ‘multileveled’ and the White House has said it would be ‘tiered’.
Potential targets reportedly include Iranian commercial interests and proxy groups with forces in Iraq and Syria.
President Biden is believed not to be planning attacks inside the territory of Iran, despite the urgings of some Republicans in Congress.
President Joe Biden has said he has decided how the U.S. will respond to the drone attack that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan. His administration has floated a ‘tiered’ and ‘multileveled’ response
Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that he has decided on a response, but his administration has yet to reveal any plans, saying the U.S. will respond at a time and place of its choosing.
‘I do hold them responsible in the sense they are supplying the weapons to the people who did it,’ Biden said at the White House when asked if he holds Iran responsible.
When asked if he held Tehran directly responsible, he said: ‘We will have those discussions.’
But he also cautioned: ‘I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East, that’s not what I’m looking for.’
On Tuesday night, Iran’s UN envoy Amir Saeid Iravani told reporters that giving a ‘strong response to enemies’ who target the country is ‘the fundamental policy of Iran,’ according to a report in the state-controlled Islamic Republic News Agency.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. response to the drone attack that killed three U.S. troops will be ‘multileveled’
Iran’s United Nations Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani has said Iran will retaliate to attacks on its interests
Biden says he holds Iran responsible for providing the weapons to the militia behind the attack as he faces a monumental decision on how to hit back
‘It’s very possible that what you’ll see is is a tiered approach here – not just a single action but potentially multiple actions,’ said national security spokesman John Kirby
He vowed a ‘decisive response’ to attacks on ‘Iran’s territory, or its interests or citizens abroad. He claimed in a letter to the UN Security Council that Iran ‘is not responsible for the actions of any individual or group in the region’ – despite the U.S. pointing to decades of support for proxy groups that carry out attacks and rely on Tehran for arms, funds, and training.
Blinken, speaking on Monday, added: ‘We will respond decisively to any aggression, and we will hold responsible the people who attacked our troops. That response could be multileveled, come in stages and be sustained over time.’
Aboard Air Force Once, national security spokesman John Kirby provided only a sketch of what was under consideration. ‘It’s very possible that what you’ll see is is a tiered approach here – not just a single action but potentially multiple actions.’
The Pentagon and the White House have pointed to the Iran-backed militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, which is based in Iraq, but has not made a final public determination.
The group’s Secretary-General Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi said in a statement Tuesday: ‘As we announce the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces – in order to prevent embarrassment of the Iraqi government – we will continue to defend our people in Gaza in other ways.’
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at a security forum in San Diego that he told Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in a meeting in Thaland that China had an ‘obligation’ to use its influence with Tehran to get Houthi rebels to stop attacking commercial shipping interests in the Red Sea.
Biden is planning to travel to Dover Air Force Base on Friday to attend the dignified transfer ceremony for the return of the three U.S. troops.