The US Central Command has confirmed in a statement on Sunday that three service members were killed and 25 injured in a one-way drone attack that “impacted at a base in northeast Jordan.”
This marks the first time US troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Mideast since the start of the Gaza war, according to CNN.
The attack comes after weeks of efforts to keep the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading further through the region.
The killing of three Americans at Tower 22 in Jordan near the border with Syria is a significant escalation of an already-precarious situation in the Middle East.
According to CNN, as of Friday, there had been more than 158 attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, though officials have described the constant volley of drones, rockets and missiles as unsuccessful, as they have frequently not caused serious injury or damage to infrastructure.
It’s unclear why air defenses failed to intercept the drone, which appears to be the first known attack on Tower 22 since attacks on US and coalition forces began October 17.
US forces at the outpost are there as part of an advise and assist mission with Jordan.
U.S. President Joe Biden blamed radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq for the attack.
Biden in a statement said America’s heart is heavy, saying that last night, three U.S. service members were killed—and many wounded—during an unmanned aerial drone attack on Ameican forces stationed in northeast Jordan near the Syria border.
“While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
The president vowed that the U.S. would hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner American has chosen.
Biden described the three fallen service members as “patriots,” praising their bravery and offering his grief, calling it a “despicable and wholly unjust attack.”