An American contractor was killed and five U.S. troops and a second U.S. contractor were wounded when a suspected Iran-linked drone attacked a coalition military base in northeast Syria late Thursday, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Pentagon said it responded to the attack by launching retaliatory airstrikes on facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing. No group will strike our troops with impunity,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a separate statement. He said the airstrikes were conducted in response to Thursday’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks that have targeted coalition forces in Syria.
There was no immediate reaction from Iran’s government. Iran’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are about 900 U.S. troops and an unknown number of American military contractors in Syria, a presence that is maintained to apply pressure to the remnants of the Islamic State militant group and to try to limit Iran’s influence in Syria. It is not the first time President Joe Biden has authorized strikes against pro-Iran fighters in Syria.
Austin said in his statement that two of the wounded U.S. service members were treated at the base where the attack took place. The three additional service members and the American contractor were medically evacuated to medical facilities in neighboring Iraq.