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Iran proxy attacks US base after Biden airstrikes over killed US contractor

A U.S. Marine provides security in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) operations Sept. 9, 2018. (Cpl. Gabino Perez/U.S. Marine Corps)
March 24, 2023

Iran proxy forces launched a series of missile strikes at a U.S. base in northeast Syria on Friday, one day after a deadly drone attack on another base in the region prompted President Joe Biden to order a wave of retaliatory airstrikes.

U.S. officials said “lots of rockets” targeted an American base Friday, but there were no known U.S. casualties, CBS News reported. Fox News reported that the base was near the Al-Omar oil field, the largest oil field in Syria.

CBS reported that photos circulating online appeared to show at least one missile hit homes in the region rather than a military target.

The attack came after the U.S. and Iran-backed forces appear to have traded blows on Thursday. The Pentagon stated that a drone of Iranian origin “struck” an allied base, killing a U.S. contractor and wounding five U.S. troops. In response, President Joe Biden ordered a series of precision airstrikes against Iran-linked targets in eastern Syria.

An additional U.S. contractor was also injured in the Thursday attack, which came from a “one-way unmanned aerial vehicle” that the intelligence community assessed had Iranian origins, according to the Pentagon.

A U.S. official said all the wounded troops and contractors are in stable condition, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. retaliatory airstrikes Thursday night killed eight Iran-backed fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based nonprofit that tracks Syrian conflicts, which cited anonymous sources. 

The House of Representatives recently voted down an effort to force the withdrawal of about 900 troops from Syria. The U.S. has more than 900 service members stationed there and hundreds of additional contractors, according to the New York Times.

The top U.S. general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, visited Syria this month and said that the U.S.’ eight-year-old mission there against ISIS remains “important,” as reported by Reuters.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.