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US prepares to counter Iran-backed groups behind attack on American troops

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President Joe Biden promised action after three U.S. service members were killed and dozens more were injured in an Iranian-backed drone strike. The White House said the attack happened at a U.S. military outpost in Jordan on Sunday, Jan. 28.

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The Pentagon identified the three Army Reserve soldiers as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23.

“I want to point out that we had a tough day last night in the Middle East,” President Biden said about the attack while on a campaign stop in South Carolina on Sunday evening. “We lost three brave souls in an attack on one of our bases. I’m asking for a moment of silence for all three of our fallen soldiers. And we shall respond.”

In a statement, the White House said it knew the attack was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.

“Have no doubt – we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing,” the statement said.

John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, said Biden has met with his security team twice and he’s weighing his response options.

“As he said yesterday, we will respond,” Kirby said. “We’ll do that on our schedule in our time. And we’ll do it in the manner of the president’s choosing, as commander and chief. We’ll also do it fully cognizant of these groups backed by Tehran have just taken the lives of American troops.”

Now concerns are rising over a retaliatory strike, and if it could lead to a more widespread regional conflict as the Israel Defense Forces continue bombarding Gaza to eliminate Hamas.

During a media briefing, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman denied the Islamic Republic of Iran had anything to do with the attack.

“Resistance groups across the region do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the spokesperson said. “The Islamic Republic of Iran, while it does not welcome expansion of conflicts in the region, doesn’t interfere in decision-making by resistance groups on ways of supporting the Palestinian people or defending themselves and their own people against aggression and occupation.”

Since the Israel-Hamas war started in October, Iranian-backed militia groups have attempted to carry out more than 160 attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.

Sunday’s drone attack was the deadliest day for the U.S. military since the it pulled troops out of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Sunday’s attack brought swift partisan condemnation, with calls from Republicans to attack Iran.

“Praying hard for all affected. Every single malignant actor responsible must be held accountable,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said on X.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., posted, “Hit Iran now. Hit them hard.”

On Monday, Kirby repeatedly asserted the United States is not seeking a war with Iran. Kirby said whatever the United States’ response will be, he doesn’t believe it will interfere with ceasefire negotiations happening between Israel and Hamas.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN – VOWING TO RESPOND – AFTER THREE U-S SERVICE MEMBERS WERE KILLED AND DOZENS MORE WERE INJURED IN AN IRANIAN-BACKED DRONE STRIKE – AT A U-S MILITARY OUTPOST IN JORDAN – NEAR THE BORDER OF SYRIA IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

THE SOLDIERS IDENTIFIED MONDAY AFTERNOON. THE PENTAGON SAID 46-YEAR-OLD SERGEANT JEROME RIVERS, 24-YEAR-OLD SPECIALIST KENNEDY LADON SANDERS AND 23-YEAR-OLD SPECIALIST BREONNA ALEXSONDRIA MOFFET WERE KILLED.

THE PRESIDENT SPOKE ABOUT THE ATTACK WHILE ON A CAMPAIGN STOP IN SOUTH CAROLINA SUNDAY EVENING.

[PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN]

“AND WE SHALL RESPOND.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE WHITE HOUSE RELEASED A STATEMENT ON THE ATTACK – SAYING –
“WE KNOW IT WAS CARRIED OUT BY RADICAL IRAN-BACKED MILITANT GROUPS OPERATING IN SYRIA AND IRAQ.”
AND “HAVE NO DOUBT – WE WILL HOLD ALL THOSE RESPONSIBLE TO ACCOUNT AT A TIME AND IN A MANNER OUR CHOOSING.”

JOHN KIRBY – THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESMAN – SAID THE PRESIDENT IS WEIGHING HIS RESPONSE OPTIONS.

[JOHN KIRBY / NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESPERSON]

“HE’S MET TWICE WITH HIS NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM, YESTERDAY AND TODAY. HE’S WEIGHING THE OPTIONS BEFORE HIM. AS HE SAID YESTERDAY, WE WILL RESPOND. WE’LL DO THAT ON OUR SCHEDULE IN OUR TIME. AND WE’LL DO IT IN THE MANNER OF THE PRESIDENT’S CHOOSING, AS COMMANDER AND CHIEF. WE’LL ALSO DO IT FULLY COGNIZANT OF THESE GROUPS BACKED BY TEHRAN HAVE JUST TAKEN THE LIVES OF AMERICAN TROOPS.

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

NOW – CONCERNS ARE RISING OVER A RETALIATORY STRIKE – AND IF IT COULD LEAD TO A MORE WIDESPREAD REGIONAL-CONFLICT – AS THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES CONTINUE BOMBARDING THE GAZA STRIP TO ELIMINATE HAMAS.

DURING A MEDIA BRIEFING – IRAN’S FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN DENIED THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE ATTACK SAYING:

“Resistance groups across the region do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while it does not welcome expansion of conflicts in the region, doesn’t interfere in decision-making by resistance groups on ways of supporting the Palestinian people or defending themselves and their own people against aggression and occupation.”

Since the ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR STARTED ON OCTOBER 7TH – IRANIAN-BACKED MILITIA GROUPS HAVE ATTEMPTED TO CARRY OUT MORE THAN 160 ATTACKS ON US TROOPS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA.

SUNDAY’S DRONE ATTACK WAS THE DEADLIEST DAY FOR THE U-S MILITARY SINCE THE U-S PULLED TROOPS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN IN AUGUST OF 2021.

SUNDAY’S ATTACK BROUGHT SWIFT PARTISAN CONDEMNATION – WITH CALLS FROM REPUBLICANS TO ATTACK IRAN.

With representative HAKEEM JEFFRIES SAYING “PRAYING HARD FOR ALL AFFECTED. EVERY SINGLE MALIGNANT ACTOR RESPONSIBLE MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE”

AND SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM SAYING “HIT IRAN NOW. HIT THEM HARD”

ON MONDAY – KIRBY REPEATEDLY SAID – THE U-S IS NOT SEEKING A WAR WITH IRAN.

KIRBY SAYS WHATEVER THE U-S’ RESPONSE WILL BE – HE DOESN’T BELIEVE IT WILL INTERFERE WITH CEASEFIRE NEGOTIATIONS HAPPENING BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS.