Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed “outrage and sorrow” on Monday over the killing of three U.S. soldiers by an Iran-backed terrorist group in Jordan.
Austin made the comments at the start of a bilateral meeting with NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon. Austin also vowed to take action against Iran and its terrorist proxy groups.
“Let me start with my outrage and sorrow for the deaths of three brave U.S. troops in Jordan and for the other troops who were wounded,” Austin said. “The president and I will not tolerate attack on U.S. forces. And we will take all necessary actions to defend the U.S. and our troops.”
The Pentagon meeting was Austin’s first day back in the office following a nearly monthlong medical absence. Austin was hospitalized for nearly two weeks at the beginning of January. He was released from the hospital on Jan. 15 and began working from home until Monday.
“Now, at this important time, I’m glad to be back at the Pentagon. I feel good and I’m recovering well, but still recovering. I appreciate all the good wishes that I’ve received thus far,” Austin said.
The drone attack on U.S. troops in Jordan saw three U.S. service members killed and at least 34 others injured. The attack struck a U.S. outpost near the Syrian border known as Tower 22.
The White House said President Biden was briefed Sunday morning by Austin, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer about the attack, which marked a significant escalation as it is the first time U.S. troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7.
Since Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip began, U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have faced more than 160 drone and missile attacks on their bases, but Sunday’s marked the first U.S. fatalities.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report
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