The report follows days of conjecture about how Washington plans to retaliate after three US service members were killed on Saturday by a drone strike in Jordan, the first US deaths in an escalation of violence across West Asia flashpoints since Israel’s war in Gaza began in Oct.President Joe Biden, under pressure to take firm action, has said he has decided how to respond, but has not publicly revealed the plans.
In its report, CBS did not provide details on what a US approval meant in terms of a timeline for the strikes. But it quoted US officials as saying weather was a factor in the timing of the planned strikes, as Washington prefers to carry out strikes when visibility is good over its targets to safeguard against hitting civilians.
Four US officials told Reuters the drone used in the attack on Jordan base was believed to have been made in Iran.
They did not disclose details of the model of the drone. While the initial indications were that the drone was likely Iranian, a formal assessment was made recently after recovering fragments of the drone.
On Wednesday, US national security council spokesman John Kirby said the US believes the attack was planned, resourced and facilitated by the Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group that includes the militia Kataib Hezbollah. He said Biden “believes it is important to respond in an appropriate way”.
Kirby dismissed the statement by Kataib Hezbollah announcing “the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces in bid to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.” He said the group can’t be taken at face value, and added “they’re not the only group”.
As of Wednesday, Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-aligned militias have launched 166 attacks on US military installations since Oct 18, including 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria and the one in Jordan, according to the US military. The US has already retaliated in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Experts have cautioned that any strikes against Iranian forces inside Iran could force Tehran to respond, escalating the situation in a way that could drag the US into a major West Asia war.