A US contractor suffered a fatal heart attack while taking refuge during the attack, which was the latest in a series of reciprocal missile launches that raised concerns about escalating tensions in the area. No US service personnel were reported injured.
Later on Thursday, Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.) said on CNN that the attack, to his knowledge, was carried out by “Iranian proxies in the region”.
“They gave them the green lights to launch these kinds of attacks. There must be consequences for that,” said Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urging the president to “come to Congress” before ordering a military response.
Senator Bill Hagerty (R from Tennessee) also blamed Tehran for the attack, saying that the attack bore “all the hallmarks of Iranian-backed militias.”
“It seems that the Iranian regime is intent on attacking the Americans at the same time that Biden’s Musharraf wants to ease Tehran’s sanctions. ”
The Biden administration has yet to publicly blame Tehran for the latest attack, which came just days after US fighter jets bombed military sites used by Kataib Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups in eastern Syria late last week.
“We cannot attribute responsibility at this time and we do not have a complete picture of the extent of the damage,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Wednesday.
Biden last week ordered a strike in Syria that destroyed the intended targets and killed at least one militant, after officials determined that Iran had facilitated three separate attacks in Iraq that endangered Americans.
Kirby said Iraqi security forces were at the site “almost immediately” after Wednesday’s attack. Iraqi media reported that investigators found her A missile launcher hidden inside a civilian truck Which they believe were used in the attack.
The conditions for the latest strike on Assad are similar to previous attacks linked to Kataib Hezbollah, Defense Officials said. While countless Shiite militias in Iraq often receive guidance from Tehran, they are not always under direct Iranian control.
Kataib Hezbollah is also believed to have carried out an attack in December 2019 on the K-1 air base in Iraq that killed an American contractor and wounded Iraqi and American soldiers, unleashing a barrage of attacks that culminated in the order of then-President Donald Trump. The killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani. The commander of the Hezbollah Brigades, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was also killed in that strike.
In response to Soleimani’s raid, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps fired a barrage of missiles at Assad on January 8, 2020. More than 100 American soldiers were injured in the trauma during the incident.
Kirby urged caution in the wake of the latest attack, but said the United States would respond if needed.
“Let’s let our Iraqi partners investigate,” he said. “If the response is warranted, I think we have clearly shown that we will not be ashamed of it.”
Nick Needswede contributed to this report.