Drone strike kills US contractor in Syria; The United States retaliates
“The airstrikes were carried out in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks on coalition forces in Syria by IRGC-affiliated groups,” Austin said.
Overnight, videos on social media claimed to show explosions in Deir Ez-Zor in Syria, a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil deposits.
Iran-backed militias and Syrian forces control the area, which has also seen suspected Israeli airstrikes in recent months that have allegedly targeted Iranian supply routes.
Syria’s official SANA news agency did not immediately acknowledge any strikes. The Syrian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar’s official news agency reported a call between its foreign minister and Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser. Doha has recently been an interlocutor between Iran and the United States amid tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.
There was no immediate reaction from Iran to the strikes, which come during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Austin said he authorized the retaliatory strikes at the direction of President Joe Biden.
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take whatever action is necessary to defend our people and always respond when and where we choose,” Austin said. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”
The Pentagon said two of the injured servicemen were treated at the scene, while three others and the injured contractor were transported to medical facilities in Iraq.