Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III stopped short on Thursday of blaming Iran for attacks that killed three U.S. service members on Sunday in Jordan but said that Tehran trained and funded the militia groups that have targeted American troops and commercial shipping in the Middle East.
Mr. Austin, in a rare show of bravado, continued the Biden administration’s promises of retribution. Asked why the administration was forecasting a dayslong campaign of retaliation, Mr. Austin said the Iran-backed militias “have a lot of capability.”
He paused and added, “I have a lot more.”
President Biden has promised that the United States will respond to Sunday’s attacks at a remote base used by American troops in Jordan. Those killed were Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga. The Pentagon says that 40 American troops were injured.
Biden administration officials say that the drone strike crossed a red line and that there is no way the president will not respond.