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The US Department of Defense said Thursday that the United States is responding after a drone strike killed an American contractor, wounded five American soldiers, and injured another contractor in Syria.
Intelligence sources found that the drone that targeted a base of the Syrian coalition was of Iranian origin. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
In response, US Central Command conducted “precision air strikes” on targets it believed were associated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, according to the Pentagon.
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take all actions necessary to defend our people and we will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” Austin said. “No group will strike our forces with impunity.”
Video clips spread on social media showed explosions in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, near the Iraqi border, which contains oil fields.
area controlled Iranian-backed militias and Syrian forcesAccording to the Associated Press, the recent damage was seen from suspected airstrikes by Israel, which targeted alleged Iranian supply routes.
American strikes on Thursday Eleven people have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that monitors the war with a network of local sources. Six Iranian-backed militants in a warehouse in the city. Two were killed on the outskirts of the nearby town of Al-Mayadeen. Three more were killed in the surrounding desert.
“The death toll is expected to rise as the strikes left several wounded militiamen, some of them seriously,” the group wrote on the Internet.
It appears that neither Iran nor Syria immediately acknowledged the strikes.
Attack and retaliation pose threats to the latest negotiations aimed at easing tensions across the Middle East after decades of conflict. Earlier this month, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic ties in a deal brokered by China, raising questions about whether US influence in the region is in decline.
Austin said Thursday’s drone strike was just another Iranian attack against coalition forces.
Iran has launched an estimated 78 attacks on US forces in Syria since January 2021, Gen. Michael “Eric Korella,” the commander of US Central Command, told CNN. US House Armed Services Committee Thursday.
In a statement following Thursday’s airstrikes, Kurella said the military is “ready with scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks.”
“We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people,” he wrote.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
NPR’s Peter Kenyon contributes reporting.
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