U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday indicated he had determined easy methods to reply after the killing of three American service members Sunday in a drone assault in Jordan that his administration has pinned on Iran-backed militia teams, saying he doesn’t need to broaden the battle within the Middle East however demurring on specifics.
U.S. officers stated they’re nonetheless figuring out which of a number of Iran-backed teams was liable for the primary killing of American troops in a wave of assaults in opposition to U.S. forces within the area because the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel. Biden plans to attend the dignified switch to mark the fallen troops’ return to American soil on Friday and answered within the affirmative when requested by reporters if he’d selected a response, as he indicated he was aiming to stop additional escalation.
“I don’t assume we’d like a wider battle within the Middle East,” Mr. Biden said at the White House before departing for a fundraising trip to Florida. “That’s not what I’m looking for.”
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Biden meant he had decided on a specific retaliatory plan. A U.S. official told The Associated Press that the Pentagon is still assessing options to respond to the attack in Jordan.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters travelling with Mr. Biden aboard Air Force One that he would not preview the U.S. response, but indicated it would come in phases.
“It’s very possible that what you’ll see is a tiered approach here, not just a single action, but potentially multiple actions over a period of time,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah, one in every of a number of teams eyed by U.S. officers, introduced Tuesday in a press release “the suspension of navy and safety operations in opposition to the occupation forces with a view to forestall embarrassment to the Iraqi authorities.”
The assaults on U.S. forces by Iraqi militias over the previous 4 months have positioned the federal government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani in an ungainly place. Sudani was dropped at energy by Iranian-allied factions however has additionally tried to remain in Washington’s good graces and has condemned the assaults on U.S. forces serving in Iraq as a part of a world fee to combat the Islamic State. Iraqi and U.S. officers on Saturday opened talks aimed toward winding down the fee’s presence.
Mr. Kirby stated that Mr. Biden spoke with the troopers’ households Tuesday morning and prolonged his condolences, pledging full help to the households as they grieve.
In separate calls with the households, Biden additionally gauged their emotions about his attendance at Friday’s dignified switch of the fallen service members’ stays at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Friday, and “all of them supported his presence there,” Mr. Kirby stated.
“He was grateful for their time. He expressed to them how proud we all are of their service,” Mr. Kirby said of Mr. Biden’s calls with the families. “How we mourn and feel sorrow over their loss.”
Mr. Kirby added: “The president will be going to the dignified transfer on Friday.”
The solemn ceremony marks the return of fallen service members to American soil as they journey to their ultimate resting place, with silent honor guards carrying flag-draped switch circumstances holding the stays from transport plane to navy autos.
The Pentagon recognized these killed within the assault as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia. The Army Reserve introduced on Tuesday that it had posthumously promoted Sanders and Moffett to the rank of sergeant.
There have been a complete of 166 assaults on U.S. navy installations since Oct. 18, together with 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria and now one in Jordan, a U.S. navy official stated. On Tuesday, Al-Asad Air Base in Western Iraq was focused once more by a single rocket, however there was no injury and no accidents in that assault, a U.S. navy official stated. The three troopers killed within the Jordan strike have been the primary U.S. navy fatalities within the Middle East because the battle between Israel and Hamas broke out. One contractor has additionally died as the results of a coronary heart assault after a strike on Al-Asad in December.
In 2021, Mr. Biden attended the dignified switch of the stays of 13 troops killed in a suicide assault throughout the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Separately, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany stated it anticipated to obtain 3 U.S. service members who have been injured within the drone assault, together with one listed in important, however steady, situation. The Pentagon has stated no less than 40 troops have been injured alongside the three killed in motion.