Former President Donald Trump expressed his deep sympathies to the families of three US service members killed in an attack by Iran-backed militants on Sunday. The Pentagon confirmed that three US military personnel were killed and over 30 injured by a drone strike in Jordan, a close Middle Eastern ally to the US. Biden blamed the strike on Iran-backed militants, with officials saying the attack had been launched from Syria. The troops were stationed near the Jordan-Syrian border. Trump criticized Biden’s “weakness” and surrender, stating that this attack would never have happened if he was still in the White House.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates responded to Republican criticism of Biden, calling it “illogical and detrimental to our safety and security.” He said that the same militias carried out attacks on US troops during Trump’s presidency. Biden stated that the US will respond decisively at a time and place of their choosing, holding the Iranian backers of these hostile groups accountable.
The situation in the Middle East has grown increasingly precarious for the US and its forces stationed there since October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched an attack that killed some 1,200 Israelis and took 250 people hostage. Israel responded by cutting off critical supplies and electricity to Gaza, declaring war against Hamas. In the months since the war began, more than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed, thousands more remain missing or severely wounded, and an estimated 80 percent of the more than 2 million people residing in Gaza have been displaced.
Biden’s administration has strongly supported Israel throughout the war, but Iran-backed groups have targeted US troops in the Middle East with regular attacks. Defense Priorities policy director Benjamin H. Friedman criticized the attack in Jordan as a “game changer” for Biden’s deterrence policy, predicting a serious escalation is around the corner.