Number of injured US troops wounded by Iran-backed militia rises

Pentagon says Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah likely behind drone attack

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The total number of American troops wounded in an attack carried out by Iran-backed militants over the weekend has risen to more than 40, the Pentagon said on Monday.

A one-way attack drone was launched in the early hours of Sunday at a US base in Jordan, where American forces are present as part of the Defeat-ISIS mission.

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According to sources familiar with the investigation, the drone was traveling at low altitudes, preventing US air defense systems from detecting it.

The drone hit a container housing unit where the soldiers were sleeping.

At least eight wounded were transported to Baghdad for further treatment. Three of the eight will be transferred to Germany for more care.

Asked who was behind the attack, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Singh said: “We know this is an IRGC-backed militia. It has the footprints of Kataib Hezbollah.”

A US official told Al Arabiya English that it was an Iranian-made Shahed.

However, there has been no final assessment, and the US Central Command is carrying out an investigation. “But we know that Iran is behind it… Iran continues to arm and equip these groups to launch these attacks,” Singh told reporters during a press briefing.

She added that the US would “certainly” hold them responsible.

American forces have come under attack over 160 times since Oct. 17, days after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel.

Just this month, Iran-backed proxies and militias have targeted American forces in Iraq and Syria over 50 times.

Washington has responded a handful of times, striking warehouses and training facilities and, in rare instances, killing militia commanders in response. The US has repeatedly said it does not seek war and does not want to escalate the conflict in the region, which it continues to deny is linked to the ongoing war in Gaza.

When asked if the US was considering altering its policies to establish deterrence, Singh said the US president would ultimately make the decision.

“I’m not going to get ahead of any decisions that the president or secretary make on this together, but certainly… we are committed to responding, and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing,” Singh said in response to a question from Al Arabiya English.

The uptick in attacks by Iran-backed groups on American forces and Israel will continue, these groups have said, until a ceasefire is reached in Gaza.

The Biden administration refuses to say that these developments and attacks on American forces in the Red Sea, Iraq, Syria, and now Jordan are related to the Israel-Hamas war.

President Joe Biden is now under pressure from lawmakers on Capitol Hill to respond to these attacks. Some Republican lawmakers have urged the US military to strike inside of Iran.

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