Biden says he’s decided on response to killing of 3 US troops in Jordan

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden on Tuesday indicated he had decided how to respond after the killing of three American service members Sunday in a drone attack in Jordan that his administration has pinned on Iran-backed militia groups, saying he does not want to expand the war in the Middle East but demurring on specifics.

US officials said they are still determining which of several Iran-backed groups was responsible for the first killing of American troops in a wave of attacks against US forces in the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel. Biden plans to attend the dignified transfer to mark the fallen troops’ return to American soil on Friday and answered in the affirmative when asked by reporters if he’d decided on a response, as he indicated he was aiming to prevent further escalation.

“I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East,” Biden said at the White House before departing for a fundraising trip to Florida. “That’s not what I’m looking for.”

It was not immediately clear whether Biden meant he had decided on a specific retaliatory plan. A U.S. official told The Associated Press that the Pentagon is still assessing options to respond to the attack in Jordan.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters traveling with Biden aboard Air Force One that he would not preview the US response, but indicated it would come in phases.

“It’s very possible that what you’ll see is a tiered approach here, not just a single action, but potentially multiple actions over a period of time,” he said.

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