After U.S. officials blamed an Iran-backed militia for a drone attack that killed three American service members, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. isn't looking to go to war with Iran, but it will respond.
The attack occurred late Saturday in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border. The Pentagon said the troops were stationed there to fight ISIS.
How the U.S. responds is up to President Joe Biden, Kirby said.
"That's going to be up to the commander-in-chief to decide, and he's working his way through those decisions as we speak," Kirby told Scripps News on Monday. "Three American families got the worst possible news over the weekend, and of course, more than 30 soldiers are now injured and getting care, some of them for critical purposes."
Kirby said the drone attacks came while soldiers were sleeping.
He added that officials are still working to determine exactly which Iran-backed militia was responsible for the attack, but said Hezbollah appears to have played a role.
"We have to respond to this kind of lethal attack," Kirby said. "On the other hand, we're not looking for a broader Middle East war here and we're certainly not looking for a specific conflict with Iran. And we want to make it clear to them that the right decision is to stop these attacks."
The U.S. has maintained a presence in the region to deter ISIS, which Kirby says is still a viable terrorist network.
"There's still a relevant mission here and they are placed around the region, in concert with, partner nations appropriately to deal with that continued threat by ISIS," he said. "We always look and review our force posture in the region."
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