Undeterred Iran proxies have launched four attacks on American troops the day after US fighter jets struck an IRGC arms depot in Syria.
A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed that three personnel were lightly injured in the attacks, bringing the number of US military injuries to almost 60 in a total of 46 drone and rocket attacks since October 17.
The US airstrike in Syria early hours of Thursday was meant to be a warning shot. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in his statement following the operation, “we urge against any escalation."
Iran and its proxies seem to have ignored the message.
Iran’s foreign minister told his Qatari counterpart that “with the intensification of the war on civilians in Gaza, expansion of the scope of the war has now become inevitable.”
Israel's military said a group in Syria launched a drone that hit a school in the southern Israeli city of Eilat on Thursday and that it struck the group in response.
The Israeli military did not say what organization in Syria had launched the drone toward Eilat, on the Red Sea approximately 400 kms (250 miles) from the nearest point in Syrian territory.
But it said in a statement it holds Syria's government fully responsible "for any terror activity emanating from its territory." There were no reports of injuries from the drone strike, which caused light damage.
Iraqi militias have explicitly stated that they will carry on attacking American targets while the US government lends its unconditional support to Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.
And Houthis in Yemen continue to launch missiles at Israel.
US officials say they hold the regime in Iran to be ultimately responsible for all such attacks. But many in Washington seem to believe that the administration’s response is too little, if not too late.
“The Biden administration sends a message of weakness when it refuses to enforce the oil sanctions on Iran,” said Senator John Kennedy to Fox News Thursday. “[They] think if we're just nice guys, that we can be partners with Iran. And we can't.”
Biden’s Iran policy came under attack in the Republican presidential debate Thursday night. All candidates called for tougher actions. Senator Tim Scott was perhaps the one with the harshest comment.
“If you want to make a difference,” he said, “you cannot continue to have strikes in Syria on warehouses, you have to cut off the head of the snake. And the head of the snake is Iran."
Former president Trump, who is running for President again, also weighed in on the subject in an interview Thursday night –blaming it all on the Biden administration.
“This [war] is something that would have never happened with me,” he claimed. “We were actually getting along well with Iran. We would have had a deal with Iran; and they didn’t have the funds to do what they’re doing now… they were broke. There were a lot of problems with Hezbollah… they were all complaining that they’re not getting any money. That was a good thing."
Iranian officials have been warning of a full-scale regional war ever since Israel attacked Gaza in response to Hamas’ unprecedented operation inside Israel that killed 1400.
Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement has also launched repeated missile and drone attacks on Israel since October 7, all of which were either shot down or fell short.
On Thursday, the Houthis, which govern swathes of Yemen including the capital Sanaa, said they fired ballistic missiles at various Israeli targets including what the group's military spokesperson described as military targets in Eilat.
Israel's military said its "Arrow" air defense system intercepted a missile launched at Israeli territory near the Red Sea, and that its Patriot defense system had intercepted a "suspicious target" in the southern Negev desert.