By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
U.S. troops shot down two more kamikaze drones in Syria early Monday morning with defensive systems, Pentagon officials confirmed, according to Politico.
The U.S. doesn’t have evidence that Iran directed the spate of recent attempts to strike bases in Iraq and Syria housing U.S. military personnel, but groups receiving strong backing from Tehran are behind the attacks, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Monday, according to Politico. No personnel were injured in the latest incident, which happened around 3 a.m. EST.
The Department of Defense (DOD) on Saturday announced moves to bolster troop presence and air defense systems in the U.S. Central Command region after Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria launched multiple attacks on U.S. troops in the span of two days.
In just over 24 hours, four different areas in Iraq and Syria where U.S. troops are present were attacked on Wednesday and Thursday. Iran-backed Islamist militias claimed credit for the attacks.
Iran-backed Islamist groups in Iraq have threatened to target American forces if the U.S. intervened to help Israel in its war against Hamas. America has surged U.S. troops and hardware to assist Israel and bolster deterrence against other nefarious regional actors, but insists that no American troops have been given combat orders.
The U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, originally slated to join the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford in the eastern Mediterranean to boost deterrence vis-à-vis actors seeking to attack Israel, will now deploy to the CENTCOM area, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in the press release. In addition, Austin also activated multiple patriot batteries and one Terminal High- Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in “locations throughout the region to increase force protection for U.S. forces.”
An unspecified number of forces were given notice to be ready in the event the Pentagon required them to rapidly deploy to the Middle East, the release said.
Austin’s decision followed “detailed discussions with President Biden on recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region,” Austin said.
Previously, the Pentagon declined to identify the attackers or say whether it believed Iran was behind the attacks.
“[We’ve] seen rocket and UAV attacks against bases housing our troops in Iraq and Syria. We’re concerned about potential escalation,” Austin told ABC News on Sunday.
“What we’re seeing is a prospect of a significant escalation of attacks on our troops and our people throughout the region. And because of that, we’re going to do what’s necessary to make sure that our troops are in the right — in a good position, and they’re protected, and that we have the ability to respond,” he said. The State Department has also called on personnel at embassies in Erbil and Baghdad to evacuate.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.