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Iran behind drone attack on US base in Syria, officials say

No injuries or deaths were reported as a result of the attack.

US and coalition troops are based in al-Tanf to train Syrian forces to patrol to counter Islamic State militants. The base is also located on a road serving as a lifeline for Iranian-backed forces from Tehran to southern Lebanon and Israel.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to provide details when asked about the report at a press conference Monday. He called it a “complex, coordinated and deliberate attack” and said the United States had seen Iran-backed Shiite militias before. But he declined to go into details and said he had no update on the ammunition used in the attack.

Kirby also declined to say whether the troops had been warned in advance or whether the United States intended to respond militarily.

“The protection and safety of our troops overseas remains a primary concern for the secretary,” said Kirby, referring to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, “and that if there is to be a response, it will be at a time, place and manner of our choosing, and we are certainly not going to get ahead of those kinds of decisions.

Pro-Iranian media said the attack on Tanf was carried out by “allies of Syria” – an apparent reference to Iranian-backed groups – in retaliation for an attack days earlier near the Syrian town historic Palmyra. Israel was blamed for the attack, but US officials say America was not involved.

“You can consider the strike on Tanf to be an implementation” of previous promises by Syrian allies to retaliate in Palmyra, according to official from the Resistance Axis, an anti-Western political-military alliance that includes Iran , Syria, Hezbollah and other groups fighting alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The al-Tanf attack came at a time of growing tensions with Iran. The Biden administration said this week that international diplomatic efforts to bring Iran back into negotiations to return to a 2015 nuclear deal were at a “critical point” and patience is running out.

Iran’s last major attack on US forces took place in January 2020, when Tehran launched a ballistic missile barrage at al-Asad air base in Iraq. U.S. and coalition troops were warned of the incoming missiles and were able to take cover, but more than 100 U.S. servicemen suffered traumatic brain injuries from the blasts.

The attack on Iran was a response to the US drone strike earlier this month near Baghdad airport that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Two months after the assault on al-Asad, US fighter jets struck five sites in retaliation, targeting members of the Iran-backed Shiite militia suspected of being responsible for the rocket attack on January.


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