“He almost caused a massacre.” Details on how US forces in Iraq survived a drone attack

Al-Marsad Newspaper – Reuters: A drone malfunction in Iraq may have helped prevent the United States from falling further into a widening conflict in the Middle East.

According to accounts from two American officials familiar with the case, a drone launched by an Iranian-backed armed group from Erbil air base in Iraq penetrated American air defenses before dawn on October 26, stormed the second floor of the barracks that housed the Americans. forces, and crashed… around five in the morning local time.

Explosive device

But the explosive loaded on it did not detonate, and the two officials, who preferred to remain anonymous to speak freely on the matter, said one soldier suffered a mild concussion in the incident. They added that the United States was lucky in that incident because if the gear had exploded, it would have caused a massacre.

The Pentagon and the two officials say this incident is one of at least 40 drone and missile attacks on U.S. forces by Iranian-backed armed groups in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks in response to U.S. support for Israel in the war of Gaza.

Minor injuries

So far these attacks have resulted in only minor injuries among soldiers, as American air defenses in Iraq and Syria intercept missiles and drones. A total of 3,400 American troops are stationed in Iraq and Syria.

Direct clash

David Schenker, former US Deputy Secretary of State and now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, warns of growing risks, although it does not appear that Iran, the groups it supports and even the United States want a direct confrontation. He said the possibility that a major strike would drag the United States into conflict “is a real cause for concern.”

He continued, saying of the Iraqi and Syrian armed groups: “I think they are planning attacks to harass American forces more than to kill their members… but there is much more in their power than that.”

It is unclear what US President Joe Biden’s reaction will be if a massive attack kills large numbers of Americans. As he faces great difficulty maintaining his approval ratings in opinion polls ahead of next year’s presidential election, Biden has so far sought to limit America’s role in the conflict to ensuring the provision of military aid to Israel.

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