US President Joe Biden has vowed to ‘respond’ after three US soldiers were killed and dozens injured in a drone attack on an American base on the Jordanian-Syrian border with several US senators calling for heavy retaliatory strikes on Iran.
The Islamic Resistance, an Iraq-based militia group, claimed responsibility for the attack on Tower 22 on Sunday, saying that the drone strike was a ‘response to the massacres of the Zionist entity against our people in Gaza’.
Biden branded the attack as ‘despicable’ and said that Iran was ultimately responsible.
In a statement following the strikes, Biden said: ‘We will carry on their commitment to fight terrorism. And have no doubt – we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing.’
Several US Senators have echoed the threat, calling for direct strikes on Iran.
‘Target Tehran,’ Texas senator John Cornyn wrote on X. He later clarified he meant attacks on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and this would be ‘about deterrence, not war’.
‘Hit Iran now. Hit them hard,’ posted South Carolina senator and war hawk Lindsey Graham on X.
Republican opponents of Biden have pointed to the attack as evidence of Biden’s ‘cowardice’ and failure to confront Iran and its proxies, as they attack US interests and allies in the region.
Republican senator Tom Cotton wrote on X that Biden’s ‘appeasement’ of Iran led to the deaths of the servicemen. ‘Joe Biden’s weakness is pathetic and dangerous,’ he said.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, said in a statement that, ‘the cost of failure to deter America’s adversaries was again measured in American lives.
‘We cannot afford to keep responding to this violent aggression with hesitation and half-measures,’ he added.
Iran’s foreign ministry dismissed the allegations as ‘baseless’ in a statement on Monday.
‘This is a conspiracy by those who see their interests in again dragging the US into a new conflict in the region,’ spokesman Nasser Kanani said.
‘Resistance groups across the region do not take orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran in their decisions and actions,’ he added.
Former NATO commander, Rear Admiral Chris Parry, responded in an interview with GB News that the strike ‘is a significant escalation by Iran and that any suggestion it is nothing to do with them is ridiculous.’
The attack is the latest escalation in ratcheting of US-Iran tensions, at their highest since former president Donald Trump unravelled a nuclear deal with Iran.
The strike, and Biden’s vows of vengeance, are drawing both countries closer to direct conflict.
Since the Hamas-led attacks on 7 October and the war on Gaza, Iranian-backed militias have launched at least 70 attacks on US forces in Iraq.