Who is the Iran-backed coalition Islamic Resistance in Iraq, responsible for deadly drone strike on US troops?

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Three American troops were killed and dozens more were injured in northeast Jordan on Sunday in an attack that marked a major escalation of tensions in the region. 

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose coalition of Iran-backed militant groups, is claiming responsibility for the deadly attack. 

Per an analysis from the Pro-Israeli Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” is not a singular unit per se but rather an umbrella term used to tie the operations of various Iran-backed proxies in Iraq and Syria.

The report determined that an umbrella term obscures responsibility, making it more difficult to determine who is exactly responsible for attacks on U.S. targets.

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Tower 22 Jordan

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows a military base known as Tower 22 in northeastern Jordan on Oct. 12, 2023. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

It is believed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) plays a role in organizing the loose coalition. 

“Iraqi armed groups tend to jealously guard their individual identities and the credit they derive (directly or via facade groups linked to them) from attacks, so their willingness to submerge these identities and even recant an individual group attack claim suggests that higher power is coordinating them,” the Washington Institute report says. 

Jordan Syria

Jordan is believed to have targeted a Syrian site allegedly linked to drug smuggling. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh/File)

Many of the attack claims by the IRI brand have been published on the Telegram group called “al-Elam al Harbi” or “The War Media,” published on Oct. 18, 2023, following Hamas’ deadly assault on Israel.

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IRI said Sunday’s attack on an installation known as Tower 22 in Jordan was in retaliation for Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza. It regards the U.S. as complicit, given its support of Israel.

Iran revolutionary guard with missile display

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps personnel are shown in Tehran, Iran, on Nov. 24, 2023. (Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Since Oct. 7, militia groups have struck American military installations in Iraq and Syria – with a mix of drones, rockets, mortars and ballistic missiles – at least 160 times.

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President Biden said Sunday that the U.S. “shall respond.” This after he blamed Iran-backed militia groups for the first U.S. fatalities after months of strikes by such groups against American forces across the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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