By Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press on January 29, 2024.
WASHINGTON (AP) – An enemy drone that killed three American troops and wounded dozens of others in Jordan may have been confused with an American drone returning to the U.S. installation, U.S. officials said.
The two officials, who were not authorized to comment and insisted on anonymity, said Monday the preliminary accounts suggest the enemy drone that struck the installation known as Tower 22 may have been mistaken for an American drone that was in the air at the same time.
The officials said that as the enemy drone was flying in at a low altitude, a U.S. drone was returning to the base. As a result, there was no effort to shoot down the enemy drone.
Explanation for how the enemy drone evaded U.S. air defenses on the installation came as the White House said Monday it’s not looking for war with Iran even as President Joe Biden vows retaliatory action. The Democratic administration believes Tehran was behind the strike.
The brazen attack, which the Biden administration blames on Iranian-based proxies, adds another layer of complexity to an already tense Mideast situation as the Biden administration tries to keep the Israel-Hamas war from expanding into a broader regional conflict.
“The president and I will not tolerate attacks on U.S. forces, and we will take all necessary actions to defend the U.S. and our troops,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday as he met at the Pentagon with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.