UPDATED: 3 American Service Members Killed in Attack on Jordan, More Strikes in Red Sea

January 26, 2024 10:06 AM - Updated: January 28, 2024 10:05 PM
The Nile River, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea are contrasted by the desert nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan on June 19, 2019. NASA Photo

This story has been updated additional information from Central Command.

Three service members were killed and at least 34 were wounded in Jordan Sunday after being attacked by one-way attack drones, U.S. Central Command announced.

The service members were part of U.S. and coalition forces deployed to Jordan, near Syria’s border, as part of the U.S.’s defeat ISIS mission. This is the first time service members have died since attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Syria and Iraq increased following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Southern Israel and the subsequent Israeli actions in Gaza.

Of the 34, “eight personnel that received injuries required evacuation from Jordan to higher level care, but they are in stable condition. All other service members are being fully evaluated for follow-on care,” reads a statement from CENTCOM.
“The attack occurred at the logistics support base located at Tower 22 of the Jordanian Defense Network. There are approximately 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel deployed to the base, conducting a number of key support functions, including support to the coalition for the lasting defeat of ISIS.”

Although the attacks have increased since the Oct. 7 attacks, Department of Defense officials have continued to say the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces are not related and the war between Hamas and Israel has not spread.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a Sunday statement that the U.S. will respond to the attacks.

“The President and I will not tolerate attacks on American forces, and we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests,” Austin said in his statement.

Tensions in the Middle East have been flaring since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, with a rise in attacks on U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq and Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

USS Carney (DDG-64), French Navy Frigate FS Alsace (D656) and Indian Navy Frigate INS Visakhapatnam (DD66) helped extinguish a fire on M/V Marlin Luanda, a cargo ship sailing under a Marshalls Island flag, hit by the Houthis Friday.

The Houthis fired an anti-ship ballistic missile Friday, around 7:45 p.m. local time, at Marlin Luanda, according to a Friday Central Command release. The release said the cargo ship was Bermuda-owned, but the BBC reported that the ship’s operator is owned by British company Oceonix Services Ltd.

Houthi leadership have said they will attack U.S. and United Kingdom ships after the two countries coordinated multiple strikes on Houthi targets. The crew serving on Marlin Luanda is made up of Indian and Bangladeshi crew members.

Marlin Luanda carried Naphtha, a highly flammable liquid hydrogen mixture, inside its cargo. After the missile hit the ship, a fire broke out in one of the cargo holds. CarneyAlsace and Visakhapatnam crews helped put out the fire after the Marlin Luanda crew was unable to do so.

On Saturday, the U.S. struck a Houthi anti-ship missile that was prepared to launch at the Red Sea, according to a Central Command release. The release did not state which type of anti-ship missile was struck.

The strike follows the Houthi strike on Marlin Luanda, as well as an attempted strike on Carney. 

Carney shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile fired by the Houthis Friday afternoon, local time, U.S. Central Command announced Friday.

The Houthis launched the missile at the ship, which has now shot down multiple Houthi drones and missiles. Carney was the first ship to shoot down Houthi weapons when it used SM-2s to shoot down several Houthi drones and missiles that were fired toward Israel in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and the subsequent Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

There were no injuries or damage reported, according to the Central Command statement.

The release specifically said that the Houthis fired the missile toward Carney, continuing a shift in the Department of Defense’s language. Prior to Jan. 11, when the U.S. and United Kingdom launched its first set of coordinated strikes on Houthi targets, the DoD was hesitant to say that the Houthis were targeting U.S. ships, saying instead that ships, like Carney, were shooting down missiles and drones in self-defense because it was unclear if they were the targets.

The language began shifting after Jan. 10 when several U.S. ships and a U.K. ship shot down multiple Houthi drones and missiles in what the DoD described as a complex attack. Then on Jan. 14, the DoD said the Houthis fired a missile at USS Laboon (DDG-58), the first time the DoD specifically said a U.S. ship was targeted.

Houthi leadership has said that they will target U.S. and U.K. ships after the Jan. 11 strikes. This has extended to U.S.-flagged and U.S.-owned commercial ships.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox