The drone that struck a US Army outpost in Jordan on Sunday and killed three soldiers was not shot down in time due to confusion at the base. The enemy drone arrived at the same time as a US drone, according to multiple sources.
The attack led to the death of three Americans and the wounding of more than forty other soldiers early Sunday morning. The soldiers were still sleeping in their barracks at the Tower 22 base in the far north-east of Jordan, near the borders with Syria and Iraq. About 350 Americans remain stationed there following Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014, in which the United States and its allies sought to eliminate the Islamic State. Jordanian soldiers are also trained at the base by American trainers.
The Pentagon is still investigating the incident. The base's anti-aircraft defense is said to be functioning normally and it is also equipped with a so-called “friend or foe” system that automatically distinguishes friendly aircraft from enemy aircraft. However, this system may have been confused with an attack drone that followed the return of a US reconnaissance drone at close range. This may be a coincidence, although it increasingly appears that the attack was very well prepared and executed, anonymous sources have told US media.
“It's possible that the attackers saw an opportunity and took advantage,” he says POLITICO A senior Pentagon source is involved in the ongoing investigation. This approach is supported by the fact that an hour and a half after the first attack, a second drone attempted to attack the US Al-Tanf base, a few kilometers away on the other side of the Syrian border. It was shot out of the sky at the right time by an American drone. Since the Al-Tanf base also includes a Syrian refugee camp, the second attack may have claimed a higher number of casualties.
It is not yet clear who is behind the attack, but the Pentagon says it recognizes the “fingerprints” of Kataib Hezbollah, an elite Iraqi paramilitary movement that receives support from Iran. The movement was founded after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and is part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a collective name for a number of armed groups in the region that have launched more than 150 attacks since the beginning of the US Gaza War. Troops.
The United States says it does not want war with Iran, but it will respond to the incident. How they will do that remains to be seen. President Joe Biden said yesterday that he chaired a National Security Council meeting where options were discussed.
The Pentagon is also investigating whether US military drones monitoring the environment have followed the same flight schedule in recent months, after which a hostile group may have detected a pattern. This is according to the source Washington Post This does not mean that the group would have received “important military intelligence,” “possibly from a friendly government.” Iran is also clearly taken into account.
Today, members of my National Security team in the Situation Room updated me on the latest developments regarding the attack on US service members in northeastern Jordan.
As I said, we will hold all those responsible accountable at the time and in the manner we choose. pic.twitter.com/pLScFuXjk2
-President Biden (@POTUS) January 29, 2024
The drone attack is another example of the increasingly important role that unmanned aerial vehicles play in warfare and to which militaries must constantly adapt, as has already been demonstrated in the war in Ukraine over the past two years. In addition to the thousands of reconnaissance drones monitoring every square centimeter of the battlefield on both sides, it is the kamikaze planes and so-called FPV drones, or first-person perspective drones, that are causing death and destruction.
Kamikaze drones fly automatically towards a pre-determined target and are often deployed in swarms to overcome anti-aircraft defences, while FPV drones are remotely controlled via video link towards the target, against which they eventually crash and explode. In addition, these devices offer an important economic advantage: because they often cost only a few hundred to thousands of dollars, they are much cheaper than the anti-aircraft missiles used against them, each of which sometimes costs more than a million dollars.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon released the names of the three deceased soldiers on Monday evening. It concerns a 46-year-old sergeant and two female soldiers, aged 23 and 24. They are the first two American soldiers to be killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the start of the war in Gaza last October.
Many of the injured are in serious condition, five of them suffering from serious brain trauma. A total of eight wounded were evacuated to a US medical support center in Baghdad, three of whom were airlifted from there to a specialized military medical base in Landstuhl, Germany.
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