Tensions in the Middle East are increasing, with US forces facing increasing threats as a Navy warship shot down missiles allegedly headed towards Israel and American bases in Iraq and Syria were repeatedly targeted by drone attacks. An attack near Baghdad’s airport occurred, with one projectile shot down and another struck, but no one was injured. The type of munition fired was not clear.
The USS Carney intercepted three land attack cruise missiles and several drones launched by Houthi forces in Yemen, potentially representing the first shots by the US military in defense of Israel in this conflict. Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated missiles may be headed towards Israel, but the US has not yet completed its assessment of their target. A US official said they don’t believe the missiles were aimed at the US warship. However, an array of other drone attacks over the past three days did target US bases, including one in southern Syria on Thursday that caused minor injuries.
The Israeli military has been criticized for attacking Gaza in response to the Hamas attack in southern Israel. However, Israel has denied responsibility for the al-Ahli hospital blast and the US has stated that Tel Aviv was not to blame. In recent days, militant groups in the region, including Hezbollah and the Houthis, have expressed support for the Palestinians and threatened Israel. Since Tuesday, militants have launched at least four drone attacks on US military installations in Iraq and Syria, where troops train local defense forces and counter the Islamic State group.
These attacks have sparked concerns that the war in Israel could escalate into a larger regional conflict. The most recent drone attack occurred at al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq, where the Islamic Resistance claimed responsibility for the attack. The US has confirmed the latest attack but has not assessed its impact.
Iranian-backed militants have launched drone attacks on American troops in Syria, causing concern for the US and its allies. The attack occurred on a vital road used by Iranian-backed militants to transport weapons to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Israel’s doorstep. The attacks also targeted an oil facility in eastern Syria, which houses American troops. On Tuesday, militants launched three drones against two Iraq bases used by the US to train forces and conduct operations against the Islamic State. One warning turned out to be a false alarm at al-Asad, sending personnel rushing into bunkers. A contractor suffered a cardiac arrest and died during the incident.
The Pentagon has not yet confirmed who launched the drone attacks, but the US will take all necessary actions to defend its forces and coalition forces against any threat. The US is still assessing the target, but no US forces or civilians on the ground were injured. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have expressed support for the Palestinians and threatened Israel, with demonstrators in Yemen’s Sanaa waving Yemeni and Palestinian flags. The rebel group’s leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, warned the US against intervening in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, threatening retaliation by firing drones and missiles.