Congressional leaders on Sunday mourned three U.S. service members killed in a drone strike in Jordan, and called for retaliation against Iranian-backed militants the United States says are responsible.
The deadly drone strike represents the first death among US forces on the firing line since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas following the terrorist attack launched by Hamas on October 7.
The White House supports Israel against Hamas, but has tried to contain the conflict for fear of provoking a broader war in the Middle East, even as various militants, aided by Iran, have carried out attacks on US and other forces opposed to Israel. .
Until Sunday’s strike, the United States had carried out a series of retaliatory operations against Iranian proxies.
Gen. C. Q. Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in an interview that he believes Iran, a regional power with major rivalries in the Middle East, does not want war with the United States.
But Republican lawmakers on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden’s approach toward Iran, with some calling for direct action against the country.
“We are saddened by the loss of three American heroes in Jordan last night, and we pray for their families and for … other service members who were injured. America must send a crystal clear message around the world that attacks on Iraq will continue.” “Our troops will not be tolerated,” House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Los Angeles, previously wrote on Twitter.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., wrote on Twitter: “Heartbroken and outraged by the killing of three American service members and the wounding of so many others during the horrific terrorist attack in the Middle East. We pray fervently for all those affected.” platform. “Every malicious actor responsible must be held accountable.”
Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted in his own statement that the strike was the latest by Iranian-backed proxies across the Middle East, including in Iraq and Syria, and by Hezbollah in Lebanon. And the Houthis in Yemen.
He has pushed for a broader policy reorganization, arguing that the White House has “failed.”
“We need a major reset of our Middle East policy to protect our national security interests and restore deterrence,” McCaul said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed that, with the Kentucky Republican saying in a statement: “Last night, the cost of failing to deter America’s enemies was once again measured in the lives of Americans. We cannot afford to continue to respond to this violent aggression with half-heartedness and half-heartedness.” “. -Sizes.”
Senator Lindsey Graham said the Pentagon should respond by targeting Iran — a major move that could lead to further consequences and engage the United States more deeply in the region.
“The Biden administration can eliminate all the Iranian proxies it wants, but that will not deter Iranian aggression. I call on the Biden administration to strike targets of significance inside Iran, not only in retaliation for the deaths of our troops, but also deterrence against any aggression in The future.” “The only thing the Iranian regime understands is power. Until they pay the price through their infrastructure and personnel, attacks on American forces will continue.”
US officials said the one-way drone attack occurred early Sunday on the Burj 22 site in Jordan near the Syrian border.
According to a defense official, at least 30 US service members were wounded in the attack in addition to the three killed.
In a statement, President Joe Biden honored fallen service members for being “unwavering in their courage. Unwavering in their duty. Unwavering in their commitment to our country” before offering a warning of his own.
He said in a statement: “We have no doubt that we will hold all those responsible accountable at the time and in the manner we choose.”
Later Sunday, in South Carolina, he pledged that “we will respond.”
Shannon K. contributed to this report. ABC News’ Crawford, Fritz Farrow, Maryam Khan and Lauren Peeler.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com