The US position at Tower 22 in northeast Jordan, where 3 troops were killed, January 28, 2024 (Wall Street Journal)
UPDATE, JAN 30:
Iran’s currency is plunging, close to its all-time low, amid concerns about a wider conflict with the US.
The rial is at 593,000:1 v. the US dollar this morning, a drop of more than 15% in value this month and about 10% in the past week.
The currency sank to more than 600,000:1 v. the US dollar in February 2023 — a fall of about 93% since the start of 2018 — before Central Bank intervention brought a recovery to 500,000:1.
UPDATE, JAN 29:
Israel has struck positions, linked to Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, south of Syria’s capital Damascus.
Iranian and Assad regime media said the attacks, from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, were on Aqraba. The area is close to the southern Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab, where Iranian forces are based.
An unspecified number of people are injured, and unconfirmed reports claim seven killed, including four Syrians. The target was reportedly a farm where members of Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias were based.
Iran’s Ambassador to Damascus, Hossein Akbari, said none of the casualties were Iranian.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry insisted that the regime had no involvement in the attacks of Iran-backed militias early Sunday on a US outpost in Jordan, killing three personnel and injuring 34.
Spokesperson Nasser Kan’ani insisted that Tehran “is not involved in the decisions of the resistance groups”: “The Islamic Republic of Iran does not look favourably on the expansion of the conflict in the region.”
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JAN 28: Three US Army troops were killed and at least 25 personnel injured in a drone attack overnight on an American outpost in northeast Jordan.
Four drone strikes were launched on the outpost, with one exploding near a barracks.
While Iran-backed militias have periodically fired on US forces on bases in Iraq and Syria, the deaths were the first of American personnel since mass killings in Israel and then Gaza from October 7.
Officials said the latest attack is also by the Iran-backed militias and appeared to come from Syria.
President Joe Biden confirmed, “While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq.”
He echoed that “many” personnel were wounded. A US official said 34 are being monitored for possible traumatic brain injuries.
Biden assured that the US “will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing”.
As of Friday, there had been at least 158 attacks on US and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria since October 7. Most of the drones, rockets, and missiles failed to cause serious casualties or damage to infrastructure.
The overnight strike was the first known attack on Tower 22, which is a position for an American advise-and-assist mission with the Jordanian military.
About 3,000 US troops are stationed in Jordan.