Tensions in Middle East rise even further after US servicemen killed in drone attack

Jordanian soldiers patrol near the eastern Jordan-Syria border (Picture: AP)

Three US Army soldiers have been killed and more than two dozen injured after a drone attack overnight on a military outpost in Jordan.

The attack marks the first time US troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

President Joe Biden said those responsible for the attack – described as ‘radical Iran-backed militant groups’ – would be held to account ‘at a time and in a manner our choosing’.

The killing marks a major escalation in an already turbulent region, after war broke out between Israel and Gaza and tensions have increased with strikes from Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Earlier this week, crew on the UK’s HMS Diamond shot down a drone deployed by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea near Yemen, another element in the complex picture.

Tower 22 in Jordan, close to the country’s border with Syria and Iraq, was hit overnight by a drone thought to be controlled by Iranian-backed militants in Syria.

US Central Command said in a statement: ‘Three US service members were killed and 25 injured from a one-way attack UAS [unmanned aircraft system] that impacted a base in northeast Jordan, near the Syrian border.

‘As a matter of respect for the families and in accordance with DoD policy, the identities of the servicemembers will be withheld until 24 hours after their next of kin have been notified.’

The announcement was shared earlier today (Picture: United States Central Command)

The White House also released a statement on behalf of President Biden, reading: ‘These service members embodied the very best of our nation: Unwavering in their bravery.

‘Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country — risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism.

‘Have no doubt – we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing.’

As of Friday, there had been more than 158 attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

It remains unclear why this drone was not shot down by air defence systems.

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