The Pentagon has verified that there have been 56 instances of attacks on American troops in Iraq and Syria since October 17. Out of these attacks, 59 U.S. personnel have sustained injuries, either categorized as traumatic brain injury (TBI) or non-serious injuries. The recent update was provided by Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh.
According to U.S. defense officials, the attacks on U.S. forces since October 17, 2023, have been carried out by Iranian-proxy forces. These groups likely have the support and backing of Iran. One of the recent incidents involved the shooting down of a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone by Iranian-backed Houthis near the Yemeni Coast.
The drone, which was reportedly conducting surveillance in Yemen, is estimated to be worth around $30 million. Despite the drone being shot down, the United States has refrained from immediate retaliation. As a result, the Houthis have issued threats against Israeli ships in the Red Sea.
When questioned about the U.S. military’s lack of response and its potential consequences, Singh stated that she did not believe it would invite further aggression. She pointed out previous instances of Houthi attacks and emphasized that the U.S. reserves the right to respond at a time and place of their choosing.
Singh reiterated that the U.S. primary objective is to contain the conflict between Israel and Hamas within Gaza, and there have been no indications of it spreading. However, concerns were raised about the effectiveness of U.S. deterrence as the Houthis continue to launch missiles and make threats.
Singh highlighted that the U.S. military did respond when the Houthis fired missiles towards Israel, and they have a strong and visible presence in the region to convey a message of deterrence.
Iranian-backed Houthis Threaten US Troops and Israeli Ships in Red Sea
Amid mounting tensions in the Middle East, American troops stationed in Iraq and Syria have faced repeated attacks from groups likely supported by Iran, as confirmed by the Pentagon. The situation escalated recently when the Iranian-backed Houthis shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone off the Yemeni Coast.
The drone, worth approximately $30 million, was surveilling Yemen at the time.
Despite the incident, the United States has refrained from immediate retaliation, prompting the Houthis to threaten Israeli ships in the Red Sea. This lack of response raised concerns about its potential consequences.
Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh, however, dismissed the notion that it would invite further aggression. She cited previous instances of similar provocations from the Houthis and reaffirmed the U.S.’s right to respond when and where they deem fit.
Singh emphasized that the primary goal of the United States is to contain the conflict between Israel and Hamas within Gaza, which has thus far remained localized. Responding to criticisms about deterrence effectiveness, she pointed out that the U.S. military had engaged when the Houthis fired missiles aimed at Israel.
Singh also highlighted the robust presence of U.S. forces in the region, which she believes sends a strong message of deterrence.