U.S. President Joe Biden vowed on Sunday to avenge the killing of three American soldiers in an Iran-backed strike in northeast Jordan.
“America’s heart is heavy. Last night, three U.S. service members were killed—and many wounded—during an unmanned aerial drone attack on our forces stationed in northeast Jordan near the Syria border,” Biden said in a statement.
“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 continued. “These service members embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country—risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism. It is a fight we will not cease …
“And have no doubt—we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” added the president.
Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella term for Iranian-backed radical Shi’ite militias, claimed several drone attacks against U.S. troops in the region, including ones targeting al-Tanf and Rukban, located at the border triangle shared by Syria, Iraq and Jordan.
In a post on X, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called on the White House to strike “targets of significance” inside Iran in response to the attack and “as deterrence against future aggression.”
“The only thing the Iranian regime understands is force. Until they pay a price with their infrastructure and their personnel, the attacks on U.S. troops will continue,” Graham tweeted.
“Hit Iran now. Hit them hard,” he added.
Sunday’s incident marked the first time that U.S. troops have been killed in increasingly frequent attacks in the Middle East since Hamas ignited a war against Israel with the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people.
In response, the U.S. military has repeatedly conducted airstrikes targeting Iranian-aligned terror assets in Iraq and Syria.
“These strikes are intended to hold accountable those elements directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces… and degrade their ability to continue attacks. We will always protect our forces,” said CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla last month.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously stressed that Washington “does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must stop.”
He went on to state that “Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces. We will not let them. If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”