President Biden said Tuesday that he had decided how to respond to this week’s drone attack by an Iran-backed militia that killed three US troops in Jordan and injured 40. After roughly 160 attacks by Tehran-aligned militias on US troops in the region in recent months, it remains unclear whether the Pentagon will hit targets inside Iran, a seeming preference for the US president, who said Tuesday that he sought to “avoid a wider war in the Middle East,” Jared Szuba reports from the Pentagon.
Fears of reprisal
While refraining from assigning responsibility for Sunday night’s deadly attack, Pentagon officials have said it bears “the footprints” of Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, founded in Iraq four years after the US invasion and declared a terror group by the United States in 2009.
In a stunning development Tuesday, Kataib Hezbollah declared a suspension of attacks targeting US forces, though the Pentagon appeared to dismiss it as too little, too late.
Iran, for its part, has sought to distance itself from Sunday’s lethal attack, claiming that no group “in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere that operates directly or indirectly under the control of the Islamic Republic of Iran or acts on its behalf” was behind it, Al-Monitor’s correspondent in Tehran reports. Meanwhile, the value of the Iranian national currency, the rial, has suffered a sharp decline of over 4.5% against the dollar amid fears of potential US retaliation that could further imperil Tehran’s battered economy.
Source: Almonitor News