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Iran drone kills US worker in Syria, US retaliates

Iran drone kills US worker in Syria, US retaliates

The Pentagon reported that one US contractor was killed, while five US servicemen and another contractor were wounded in a suspected drone attack. The attack took place in northeastern Syria on Thursday and the drone is believed to be of Iranian origin.

In response, US forces launched "precision airstrikes" targeting facilities used by groups linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard in Syria.

The attacks threatened to heighten tensions across the Middle East, which is already in turmoil following the collapse of the Iran nuclear deal. However, in recent days, there have been indications of progress toward easing tensions between Iran and other nations in the region.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the US intelligence community had determined the drone was of Iranian origin, but offered no other immediate evidence to support the claim.

"The airstrikes were carried out in response to today's attack, as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria by groups linked to the Revolutionary Guard," Austin said.

The Pentagon said two of the injured service members were treated at the scene, while three others and the injured contractor were transported to medical facilities in Iraq.

Iran and Syria did not immediately claim responsibility for the attacks, and their officials at the United Nations in New York did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press news agency.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that US strikes killed six Iranian-backed fighters at an arms depot in the Harabesh neighborhood in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour.

The monitor, who relies on a network of local contacts in Syria, said US bombing of a military checkpoint near the town of Mayadeen killed two more fighters. According to them, another American attack also hit a military checkpoint near the town of Boukamal along the border with Iraq.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is suspected of carrying out drone attacks across the Middle East.

In recent months, Russia has begun using Iranian drones in its attacks across Ukraine as part of its war against Kiev. Iran has denied links to the use of its drones in war, although Western countries and experts have linked drone components to Tehran.

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