The US has approved plans for a series of strikes against Iranian targets in Syria and Iraq in response to the drone attacks that killed three US soldiers in Jordan.
Officials in the US spoke with its American partner CBS News, telling them that the strikes will take place over a number of days, and launch times will depend on weather conditions, BBC reported.
This follows a drone strike which killed three US servicemen in Jordan on Sunday, an action which the Iranian-backed militia group Islamic Resistance in Iraq took credit for.
The group is believed to comprise several militias which have been armed, funded, and trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards force.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attack which injured 41 other US military personnel at the military base, known as Tower 22. However, four US officials cited by Reuters have said the US intelligence believes the drone used for the attack was manufactured by Iran.
At a news conference today, February 1st, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US would “not tolerate attacks on American troops.”
Austin added, “We will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests and our people. We will respond where we choose, when we choose and how we choose.”
According to the BBC, the officials who spoke with CBS News did not lay out a specific timeline for the potential strikes, instead saying that the military may launch them in bad weather but preferred to have better visibility to lessen the risk of hitting civilians.
Multiple Strikes Have Been Carried out by Iranian Proxies on US Since October 7th
Several Iran-sponsored groups have upped their attacks on US and Israeli-associated entities since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7th. The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have carried out strikes on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, prompting retaliatory strikes from the US and its allies.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Iran had withdrawn senior officials from Syria after a series of Israeli airstrikes in an attempt to avoid being directly pulled into a wider conflict in the region.
US Officials told CNN earlier this week that the Iranian government had expressed concern about the action of its proxy groups, who have allegedly launched over 160 strikes on US forces since October, in the region.
The bodies of the three US soldiers killed in the drone attacks by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq are due to be repatriated to a Delaware Air Force base tomorrow on Friday, February 2nd. The White House has announced that President Biden will attend.
The three soldiers have been named as William Jerome Rivers, 46, Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, and Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23. All were part of an army reserve unit based in Fort Moore, Georgia, according to the BBC.