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Analysis

Attacks on US soldiers by Iran-backed militias brings spectre of war across Middle East closer

Joe Biden made clear that the US holds Iran culpable for the latest assault and has vowed retribution, writes Kim Sengupta

Monday 29 January 2024 19:49 GMT
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The attack on the Tower 22 base saw the first American deaths by enemy fire since the start of the Gaza war
The attack on the Tower 22 base saw the first American deaths by enemy fire since the start of the Gaza war (Planet Labs PBC)

The spectre of war spreading across the Middle East, with the US and its allies drawn into direct conflict with Iran, has just moved that much closer, with the killing of three American servicemen at the Jordanian border.

While the threat of conflagration across the region has been simmering since the brutal Hamas assault on Israel, and the subsequent Israeli onslaught on Gaza, Tehran has been repeatedly accused of using its proxy militias to exploit the situation to an incendiary level.

The attack on the Tower 22 base in Rukban, a remote area near the Syrian border, by the Iranian-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq, resulted in the first American deaths by enemy fire since the start of the Gaza war. Around 34 others were seriously wounded, many of them suffering traumatic brain injuries.

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