US contractor killed, five military and contractor injured in suicide drone strike in Syria

    A U.S. contractor was killed and five U.S. military personnel and a U.S. contractor were injured when a suicide drone hit a coalition base near Hasakah in northeastern Syria just before 2 p.m. local time on Thursday, the Defense Department said in a statement.

    According to the intelligence services, the drone is of Iranian origin, according to the statement. The US retaliated with airstrikes against Iranian-affiliated targets in the area.

    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “At President Biden’s behest, I have authorized US Central Command Forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). ).

    “The airstrikes were carried out in response to today’s attack and to a series of recent attacks on coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC.

    “Our thoughts are with the family and colleagues of the contractor who was killed and those injured in the attack earlier today,” he said.

    Two wounded servicemen were treated at the scene, while three others and the injured US contractor were evacuated to medical facilities in Iraq.

    General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the commander of US central command, said in congressional testimony on Thursday that there have been 78 attacks since January 2021 on facilities housing US troops in Iraq and Syria. The attacks, mainly by drones and missiles, are believed to have been carried out by Iran or Iranian-backed proxies.

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