A US civilian contractor has died after suffering a “cardiac episode” while taking cover from a suspected drone attack at al-Asad Airbase in Iraq. Pentagon Press Secretary Brg. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed the incident during a briefing in Washington. Although no attack actually occurred, the contractor passed away shortly after sheltering. Ryder did not assign responsibility to any specific armed group for the incident.
Al-Asad Airbase is a frequent target for missiles and drones, with Iranian-backed militia groups often being blamed by the US. In a similar incident in 2021, a civilian contractor died of a heart attack during an actual rocket barrage on the base.
The incident at al-Asad Airbase followed an attack on the US’ al-Tanf base in southern Syria. One drone was successfully shot down, while another impacted the base, resulting in minor injuries to an unspecified number of personnel.
In another incident, a US warship operating near Yemen was swarmed by nearly two dozen drones. The USS Carney intercepted multiple missiles launched by Houthi forces in Yemen. While it is unclear where the missiles were targeting, the Pentagon believes they may have been intended for targets in Israel.
In response to these attacks, the US has deployed significant naval power to the Middle East, including two aircraft carrier groups. However, Ryder declined to provide any details regarding a potential response, stating that they will take all necessary actions to defend US and coalition forces against any threats. Any response will be executed at a time and manner of their choosing.
The tensions in the region have escalated since the outbreak of the conflict between Israel and Hamas two weeks ago. The US is closely monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of its forces and allies in the region.
The incident underscores the ongoing security challenges faced by US personnel deployed in the Middle East. The threat of drone attacks has become increasingly prevalent, necessitating continuous efforts to enhance defenses and improve situational awareness. The US military continues to adapt and evolve its strategies to counter these emerging threats.
The death of the civilian contractor serves as a tragic reminder of the risks faced by those who support military operations abroad. Their contributions are essential to the success of missions and the overall security of the region. The US government is committed to conducting a thorough investigation into the incident and providing support to the contractor’s family during this difficult time.
As the situation in the Middle East remains volatile, the US will continue to monitor and respond to any potential threats to its forces and allies. The security of personnel remains a top priority, and all necessary measures will be taken to ensure their safety.