White House national security spokesman John Kirby reiterated Wednesday that the U.S. will respond after three American soldiers were killed in a drone attack by an Iran-backed proxy group.
President Biden on Tuesday blamed Iran for providing weapons to the militant groups that perpetuated the attack and said he had decided how to respond but did not offer further details. But with no public action in the days since the attack, a reporter asked Kirby whether the White House had missed an opportunity to signal resolve.
“I think we signal resolve pretty well. And as I said the other day, we’ll respond on our own time, on our own schedule, and we’ll do that,” Kirby said at the daily White House press briefing.
“The first thing you see won’t be the last,” he added.
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Kirby identified the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose coalition of Iran-backed militant groups, as the perpetrators of the attack in Jordan on Sunday.
The Pentagon identified those killed in the attack as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia. The Army Reserve announced on Tuesday that it had posthumously promoted Sanders and Moffett to the rank of sergeant.
In addition to those killed, at least 34 service members were injured, including at least eight personnel whose injuries warranted an evacuation from Jordan to higher-level care, though they were believed to be in stable condition.
Kirby remained tight-lipped about the details of the planned U.S. response.
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“I’ll just say that we’re confident in the planning and we’re confident in the response that we – what we plan to undertake,” he told reporters.
He did say that the president’s decision to move forward was based on discussions with his national security team and that it would not be limited to a “one-off.”
Kirby said “this will be a response over time” and that Biden will “continue to weigh options ahead of him, continue to ask tough questions, continue to talk to his national security team as things go forward.”
BIDEN SAYS HE’S DECIDED ON RESPONSE TO IRANIAN-BACKED MILITIA ATTACK THAT KILLED 3 US SOLDIERS IN JORDAN
There have been a total of 166 attacks on U.S. military installations since Oct. 18, including 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria and now one in Jordan, a U.S. military official said.
Meanwhile, Houthi militants based in Yemen have been firing upon commercial vessels in the Red Sea, prompting retaliatory strikes from the U.S. and its allies.
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On Tuesday, Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq was targeted again by a single rocket, but there was no damage and no injuries in that attack, a U.S. military official said.
The three soldiers killed in the Jordan strike were the first U.S. military fatalities in the Middle East from enemy fire since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out. One contractor has also died as the result of a heart attack after a strike on Al-Asad in December. Two U.S. Navy SEALs recently went missing during a mission in the Red Sea and have since been declared dead.
Fox News Digital’s Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.