The Pentagon on Monday said Iran “bears responsibility” for the drone attack in northeastern Jordan that killed three US troops but admitted it has no evidence that Iran was directly involved.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said the responsibility fell on Iran due to its support for Iraqi Shia militias the US believes carried out the attack.
“In terms of attribution for the attack, we know this is an [Iran]-backed militia. It has the footprints of Kataib Hezbollah, but [we’re] not making a final assessment,” Singh said at a press conference. “Iran continues to arm and equip these groups to launch these attacks, and we will certainly hold them responsible.”
When asked if the US knew Iran and Iranian leaders were “actually behind this attack, as in planned, coordinated, or directed it,” Singh admitted the US had nothing to show that.
“We know that Iran certainly plays a role with these groups, they arm and equip and fund these groups. I don’t have more to share on — terms of an intelligence assessment on if leaders in Iran were directing this attack,” she said.
Singh was again asked about the claim that Iran was behind the attack and said the US just knows that “Iran funds these groups” and had nothing more to add. Later in the press conference, she said Iran “bears responsibility” for the killing of three American soldiers.
Also on Monday, The New York Times reported that US intelligence officials have no evidence Iran had advanced knowledge of the attack. “American intelligence officials say that while Iran provides weapons, funding and sometimes intelligence to its proxy groups, there is no evidence that it calls the shots — meaning it may not have known in advance about the attack in Jordan,” the report reads.
Iran has strongly denied it was behind the attack and said the resistance factions were targeting the US forces in the region due to its support for the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. Since mid-October, US bases in Iraq and Syria have come under attack about 160 times, and the US has never produced evidence to show Iran was directing the operations.
The comments from Singh came as President Biden is mulling what his response will be to the killing of the three American troops. He is under pressure from hawks in Congress to bomb Iran directly, and a previous report from the Times said that’s something the administration would consider in response to the death of US troops despite the risk of a full-blown war with Iran.