The United States has approved plans for military actions targeting Iranian individuals and facilities in Iraq and Syria following a drone attack in Jordan.

The United States has approved plans for military actions targeting Iranian individuals and facilities in Iraq and Syria following a drone attack in Jordan.

U.S. officials have confirmed to CBS News that plans have been approved for a series of strikes over a number of days against targets — including Iranian personnel and facilities — inside Iraq and Syria. The strikes will come in response to drone and rocket attacks targeting U.S. forces in the region, including the drone attack on Sunday that killed three U.S. service members at the Tower 22 base inside Jordan, near the Syrian border.

Addressing a group at the Department of Defense headquarters.

On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin informed the media that the United States will not accept any assaults on its military personnel.

“This is a critical time in the Middle East,” Austin remarked, acknowledging the precariousness of Israel’s situation.ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and attacks by 

Yemen’s Houthi rebels

There have been reports of incidents involving commercial ships in the Red Sea area. We are committed to preventing any escalation of conflict in the region, but we will use all means necessary to protect the United States, our interests, and our citizens. Our response will be strategic and deliberate, happening on our terms and in our chosen location.

Iran has consistently denied any involvement in the attacks on American forces, despite the looming possibility of American retaliation for what the Biden administration refers to as Iranian proxy group activity. Additionally, Iran has warned that any strikes on their territory or personnel would only heighten tension in the already volatile region, rather than ensure the safety of U.S. forces.

Austin informed journalists that the United States was attempting to “ensure the appropriate individuals are held responsible” while avoiding further escalation of the conflict in the area.

Austin stated that their response will have multiple levels and they have the capability to respond multiple times depending on the situation.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon on Feb. 1, 2024, in Arlington, Virginia.

On February 1, 2024, in Arlington, Virginia, United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gives a statement at a press briefing held at the Pentagon.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Several Iran-supported factions in the Middle East have increased their assaults on entities associated with the United States and Israel during Israel’s conflict with Hamas. The militant Palestinian group, which has governed Gaza for a significant period of time, incited the war with their violent October 7 attack on Israel, resulting in an estimated 1,200 casualties according to Israeli authorities.

Since then, Israel has launched a destructive attack on Gaza, according to officials in the Hamas-controlled area, resulting in the deaths of over 26,000 people, mostly women and children. Israel maintains that it does everything in its power to prevent harm to civilians, but has declared its intention to persist with the attack until Hamas is eliminated.

Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Iran plays a crucial role in supporting Hamas and a variety of other groups throughout the region, such as the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Yemeni Houthi insurgents

The group responsible for attacking ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, who have frequently exchanged fire with Israeli forces across the border, claim that they are targeting Western interests in solidarity with the Palestinian community.

According to a statement on social media from U.S. Central Command, another drone was shot down by U.S. forces in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday morning. The command later reported that a Houthi explosive sea drone was also destroyed by U.S. forces in the Red Sea.

According to Central Command, two ballistic missiles were fired from regions controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen on Thursday afternoon. This occurred while a cargo ship with a Liberian flag was present in the Red Sea. Fortunately, the missiles landed in the water and did not strike the ship.