Iran threatened to “decisively respond” to any U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic after the U.S. said it held Tehran responsible. …reports Asian Lite News
The United States on Wednesday attributed the drone attack that killed three U.S. service members in Jordan to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, as President Joe Biden weighs his options to respond to the strike.
Iran threatened to “decisively respond” to any U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic after the U.S. said it held Tehran responsible. The U.S. has signaled it is preparing for retaliatory strikes in the Mideast in the wake of the Sunday drone attack that also wounded more than 40 troops at Tower 22, a secretive base in northeastern Jordan that’s been crucial to the American presence in neighboring Syria.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday the U.S. believes the attack was planned, resourced and facilitated by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group that includes the militant group Kataib Hezbollah. He said Biden “believes that it is important to respond in an appropriate way.”
He said Biden was continuing to weigh his options, but Kirby said “the first thing you see won’t be the last thing,” adding it “won’t be a one-off.”
Kirby dismissed a statement by Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah announcing “the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.” He said the group can’t be taken at face value, and he added, “they’re not the only group that has been attacking us.”
As of Wednesday, Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-aligned militias had launched 166 attacks on U.S. military installations since Oct. 18, including 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria and the one in Jordan, according to the U.S. military.
The U.S. has struck back at the militias a few times over the past three months. On Oct. 27, U.S. fighter jets struck two weapons and ammunition storage sites in eastern Syria near Boukamal that were used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian-backed groups.
Also in Syria, fighter jets dropped bombs on an IRGC weapons storage facility near Maysulun in Deir el-Zour on Nov. 8. And U.S. airstrikes targeted a training facility and a safe house in the Bulbul district of Mayadin on Nov. 12.
On Dec. 26, the U.S. launched strikes on three locations in Iraq used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups, and on Jan. 23, the U.S. struck three sites in Iraq, again targeting Kataib Hezbollah.
Any additional American strikes could further inflame a region already roiled by Israel’s ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The war began with Hamas attacking Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostage. Since then, Israeli strikes have killed more than 26,000 Palestinians and displaced nearly 2 million others from their homes, arousing anger throughout the Muslim world.
Violence has erupted across the Mideast, with Iran striking targets in Iraq, Pakistan and Syria, and the U.S. carrying out airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels over their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea. Some observers fear a new round of strikes targeting Iran could tip the region into a wider war.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations, said American F/A-18 fighter jets on Wednesday struck and destroyed 10 Houthi drones that were prepared to launch.
The U.S. military’s Central Command said later Wednesday that the guided missile destroyer USS Carney had shot down one anti-ship ballistic missile fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden. The Carney also shot down three Iranian drones, Central Command said.