Pentagon chief vows ‘all necessary actions’ after US troop deaths

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed on Monday that the United States would take “all necessary actions” to defend its troops after a drone attack by Iran-backed militants that killed three US troops and wounded dozens more.

The attack on Sunday was the first deadly strike against US forces since the Israel-Hamas war erupted in October, and marks a major escalation in tensions that have engulfed the Middle East.

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“Let me start with my outrage and sorrow (for) the deaths of three brave US troops in Jordan and for the other troops who were wounded,” Austin said at the Pentagon.

“The president and I will not tolerate attacks on US forces and we will take all necessary actions to defend the US and our troops,” Austin added at the start of meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

US troops have been attacked over 150 times in Iraq, Syria, Jordan as well as on warships in the Red Sea, where Houthi fighters in Yemen have been firing drones and missiles at them.

The attacks are piling political pressure on President Joe Biden to deal a blow directly against Iran, a move he’s been reluctant to do out of fear of igniting a broader war.

Biden’s response options could range anywhere from targeting Iranian forces outside to even inside Iran, or opting for a more cautious retaliatory attack solely against the Iran-backed militants responsible, experts say.

“Iran continues to destabilize the region, this includes backing terrorists who attack our ships in the Red Sea,” Stoltenberg said.

Read more:

Iran denies US, UK accusations it is linked to deadly Jordan attacks

Iraq urges end to ‘cycle of violence’ after attack on US troops in Jordan

UK PM Sunak urges Iran to de-escalate after deadly drone attack in Jordan

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