US contractor killed, 5 service members wounded during drone strike in Syria

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, right, accompanied by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A U.S. contractor was killed in northeast Syria on Thursday after a suspected Iranian-origin drone struck a facility on a Coalition base near Hasakah, the Pentagon announced late Thursday evening.

Five U.S. service members and one other contractor were wounded in an attack that hit just before 2 p.m. local time, the Defense Department said in a release. Two were treated on-site and the others were medically evacuated for treatment in Iraq.

The Pentagon said the intelligence community has assessed the one-way unmanned aerial vehicle to be of Iranian origin.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he authorized U.S. Central Command to retaliate by carrying out precision airstrikes “in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)” at the direction of President Biden after the incident.

“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,” Austin said.

The Pentagon added that the U.S. strikes “are intended to protect and defend U.S. personnel.”

“No group will strike our troops with impunity,” Austin said.

This is a developing story.

Tags Defense Drone Iran Joe Biden Lloyd Austin pentagon Syria

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