May 29, 2023

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US launches airstrikes in Syria after Iranian-made drone kills American contractor, wounds troops

The United States launched a series of retaliatory airstrikes on Thursday after a suspected Iranian-made drone killed a U.S. contractor and wounded six other Americans stationed on a base in northeast Syria, the Pentagon confirmed.

The “precision airstrikes” targeted facilities in Syria known to be “used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

President Biden authorized the action after the American intelligence community determined a drone used to attack a United States military base hours earlier was of Iranian origin. The attack unfolded around 1:30 p.m. local time, when the unmanned aerial vehicle intentionally slammed into the building.

Two of the wounded service members were treated on site, while three others were transported to medical facilities in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. The contractor killed has not been identified.

A second contractor was also wounded and hospitalized.

“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,” Austin added. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”

There was no immediate reaction from Iran’s government.

Overnight, videos flooding social media appear to show explosions caused by the U.S. airstrikes, including a blast in Syria’s Deir el-Zour, a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that the strikes killed six Iranian-backed fighters at an arms depot in the Harabesh neighborhood, located within the province.

Another three fighters were reportedly killed at a military post near the town of Boukamal bordering Iraq, where Iranian militia are thought to be based, and two more died on the outskirts of Mayadeen, a town in the same region.

The U.S. has not confirmed the death toll.

With News Wire Services

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