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Late on Thursday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes in eastern Syria against Iran-affiliated groups after a U.S. contractor was killed in an attack with a drone that the U.S. intelligence community assesses to be of Iranian origin.
One U.S. contractor was killed, and five U.S. service members and one additional U.S. contractor were wounded after a one-way unmanned aerial vehicle struck a maintenance facility on a Coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria, the Pentagon said.
The intelligence community determined the UAV to be of Iranian origin, the U.S. Department of Defense added.
In response to the attack, the U.S. military carried out airstrikes in Syria late on Thursday.
“At the direction of President Biden, I authorized U.S. Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC.”
“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,” said Secretary Austin.
“No group will strike our troops with impunity.”
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a group monitoring the war in Syria, SOHR activists had reported that the number of fatalities in the airstrikes by Coalition aircraft on positions of Iranian-backed militias has increased to 11.
“The number of fatalities is expected to rise, as the strikes left several militiamen injured, some seriously, amid unconfirmed reports of more fatalities,” SOHR said.
The flare-up of tensions in the Middle East comes just as oil prices were crashing early on Friday as the U.S. dollar was rallying and equity markets in Europe were falling on banking sector concerns.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.