Washington is on high alert for activities by forces supported by Iran during the Israel-Hamas war, and U.S. troops have been assaulted frequently in Iraq and Syria in recent days. With tensions rising during the Israel-Hamas war, the United States has been on high alert for activity by Iran-sponsored forces. On Thursday, an American destroyer intercepted missiles that appeared to be headed toward Israel, while American sites in Iraq and Syria were again the target of drone assaults.
A strike near Baghdad’s airport, where American soldiers are stationed, was reported by a U.S. official later on Thursday. The official said they shot down one rocket and hit another, although initial reports indicated no one was hurt. It was unclear what kind of weapon had been discharged. The official, who spoke anonymously because the reports were not yet public, stated that further data was needed.
Houthi militants in Yemen fired three ground attack cruise missiles and six drones, all intercepted by the USS Carney. Carney’s move may have been the first time the United States military intervened on Israel’s side of the conflict—Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters the missiles were “possibly” aimed at Israel but that the United States has not yet assessed their intended target.
Other drone assaults over the previous three days have targeted American installations, including one on Thursday in southern Syria that resulted in light casualties. The explosion at the Gaza hospital killed at least eleven people and sparked protests in several Muslim countries. After the deadly Hamas rampage in southern Israel over two weeks ago, the Israeli military has mercilessly attacked Gaza in reprisal. Despite this, Israel has denied culpability for the al-Ahli hospital explosion, and the United States has stated that its assessment indicated that Israel wasn’t to blame.
There have been numerous threats against Israel from extremist groups in the region, including Hezbollah and the Houthis. At least four drone assaults have been made against U.S. military bases in Iraq and Syria since Tuesday. American troops use these bases to train local defense forces and help the campaign against the Islamic State organization.
These strikes exacerbated concerns in the United States and Western Europe that the conflict in Israel could escalate into a wider regional conflict. The Pentagon has not confirmed who is behind the drone attacks but has pledged to take all necessary measures to protect American and allied troops.