On Thursday night, the U.S. military conducted airstrikes against Iranian-backed terrorists in Syria after a U.S. contractor and five service members were killed or injured in an attack involving a “one-way unmanned aerial vehicle,” according to analysts.
The Pentagon reported that precision strikes were deployed to “limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”
“This evening, we responded to an attack on our forces that killed an American contractor and wounded our troops and another American contractor by striking facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” said U.S. Central Command in a statement. “We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing.”
“We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” they added. “The thoughts and prayers of U.S. Central Command are with the family of our contractor killed and with our wounded servicemembers and contractors.”
The incident in Syria comes as U.S. and foreign officials have grown increasingly concerned over the state of Iran’s nuclear program. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Thursday hearing on Capitol Hill that Iran is “several more months” away from producing an “actual nuclear weapon.”
The prospect has alarmed Israeli officials who have warned U.S. and European officials that if Iran enriches uranium past a 60% threshold, Israel will take action against them. Uranium is weapons-grade after it is enriched up to 90%.
At the same time, Iran has been bolstered by Russia and China with reports suggesting Moscow may supply Tehran with S-400 missile systems which could protect Iranian nuclear facilities from potential airstrikes by Israel. China meanwhile has helped build diplomatic ties in the region for Iran, having facilitated a deal between them and Saudi Arabia recently.