REVEALED: How two F-15E fighter jets launched missile attacks on three Iranian-backed targets in Syria, killing 14 fighters, after a Tehran suicide drone strike left an American contractor dead and six other Americans wounded
- A ‘kamikaze’ drone struck a coalition site in Hasaka, northeastern Syria, at around 1:38 p.m. Thursday, killing a US contractor and wounding five soldiers.
- The United States responded by ordering strikes by two F-15E fighter jets against Iran-linked sites, killing 14 fighters, observers said.
- Tehran-linked forces responded again on Friday, targeting at least three missiles at another US base.
The United States has exchanged strikes with Iranian-backed forces in Syria after a US contractor was killed in a drone strike.
An Iranian-made ‘kamikaze’ drone struck a coalition site in Hasaka at around 1:38 p.m. local time Thursday, killing the US contractor and wounding five soldiers and another contractor.
Three service members and a contractor required medical evacuation to Iraq, while two wounded US soldiers were treated at the base. On Friday, the Pentagon said the injured personnel were in stable condition.
President Joe Biden ordered retaliatory ‘precision airstrikes’ against targets in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the United States designates as a terrorist organization.
Fourteen pro-Iranian fighters were killed when two US Air Force F-15E fighter jets launched air strikes on three targets, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
An Iranian-made drone struck a coalition base in northeastern Syria at around 1:38 p.m. local time Thursday, killing a US contractor and wounding several US personnel. President Joe Biden ordered a series of retaliatory strikes against Iran-linked bases in the country.
The US retaliatory strikes were carried out by two F-15E fighter jets and killed 14 fighters.
Six were killed in an arms depot inside the town of Deir Ezzor, two near Al-Mayadeen and another six near Albu Kamal, according to the Briton, who compiled information from a network of sources on the ground.
Military officials said the planes struck an ammunition warehouse, a control building and an intelligence-gathering facility.
Iranian-backed forces responded again on Friday morning, when fighters stationed near the town of Al-Mayadeen fired at least three missiles near a US base in Syria’s largest oil field, Al-Omar.
Two reached the oil field but did not cause any damage, while a third missed the base by about three miles and struck a civilian home “causing significant damage and minor injuries to two women and two children.”
A US Army Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman said “10 rockets were fired… at approximately 8:05 am.”
While it is not the first time the US and Iran have exchanged strikes in Syria, the US attack and response threaten to undo recent efforts to de-escalate tensions across the Middle East, whose rival powers have given steps towards détente in recent days after years of turmoil.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the US intelligence community had determined the drone was of Iranian origin, but offered no other immediate evidence to back up the claim.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III said he authorized the retaliatory strikes at the direction of President Joe Biden. US Air Force F-15E fighter jets attacked an ammunition warehouse, a control building, and an intelligence gathering site.
Videos posted online overnight purported to show explosions caused by US strikes.
The drone struck a coalition base in the northeast Syrian city of Hasaka. Among the wounded were five US servicemen and a US contractor.
Austin said the strikes were a response to the drone attack “as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria” by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran relies on a network of proxy forces across the Middle East to counter the United States and Israel, its regional archenemy.
The United States has had forces in northeast Syria since 2015, when they were deployed as part of the fight against the Islamic State group, and maintains about 900 troops there, working with Kurdish-led forces that control about a third of Syria.