There have been at least 160 attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East since mid-October, following this weekend’s attack on a base in Jordan near the Syrian border that left three American soldiers dead and dozens of others injured, U.S. officials said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin addressed Sunday’s attack and vowed the U.S. would “take all necessary actions” to keep U.S. troops in the region safe.
“Let me start with my outrage and sorrow for the deaths of three brave U.S. troops in Jordan and for the other troops who were wounded,” Austin said.
He added, “The president and I will not tolerate attack on U.S. forces. And we will take all necessary actions to defend the U.S. and our troops.”
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Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reported Austin’s return to the Pentagon on Monday. His first time working in-person since his prostate cancer surgery comes after Sunday’s attack, which was the deadliest on U.S. forces since 2021. Griffin reported that Austin is “actively engaged” in talks regarding the U.S. response.
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The base that was hit by a drone on Sunday is known as Tower 22. The outpost houses about 350 service members, most of whom were asleep when the drone struck the base, Griffin reported.
The service members stationed there are focused on the defeat-ISIS mission.
Several U.S. service members required serious medical treatment but are in stable condition, defense officials said. They are continuing to be medically evacuated for their injuries.
Austin’s comments Monday echoed those from the White House, which expressed its “deepest condolences” for those who were killed.
“We are mourning with Americans across the country today who are mourning the deaths of three souls, three service members who lost their lives,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. “As we all know, yesterday was a very dark day.”
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“Today is a very difficult day for Americans,” she continued. “So our deepest condolences go out to the families, the friends and the units. You heard that from the president yesterday. He said … we shall respond. The president has always been very clear as commander-in-chief, one of the things that he focuses on is making sure that we protect our troops.”
“We send our deepest, deepest condolences and our prayers, to the friends of families of the three service members that we lost yesterday,” she added.
Sunday’s attack was the deadliest since suicide bombers attacked U.S. forces at the Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate in Afghanistan following the chaotic withdrawal in August 2021.