United States military forces said they retaliated with "precision airstrikes" in Syria soon after a suspected Iranian-made drone attack killed an American contractor and wounded five U.S. troops, as well as another contractor, the Associated Press reports.
The Pentagon said the counter airstrike, which activist groups claimed resulted in at least four deaths, targeted facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement confirming that the American intelligence community had determined that the drone came from Iran, however, didn't offer immediate evidence to publicly back his claim.
Austin said, “the airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria” that were previously carried out by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, according to the AP.
Iran is know to rely on a network of neighboring ally forces throughout the Middle East in its efforts to counter the United States and Israel, which is considered to be its top regional enemy. The Pentagon said the two American service members wounded in the initial drone strike received treatment on-site, while three others and the separate injured contractor were all transported to nearby medical facilities.
Iran and Syria have not publicly acknowledged the strikes as of Friday (March 24) morning.