The Pentagon said Tuesday that there have been 56 attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, with 59 U.S. personnel getting injured with either traumatic brain injury (TBI) or non-serious injuries.
Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh provided the update to reporters, saying of the 59 U.S. personnel who were injured, 32 were listed with injuries in the non-serious category, while the other 27 individuals suffered from TBI.
American troops in Iraq and Syria have been repeatedly attacked by groups likely backed by Iran.
Last week, the Iranian-backed Houthis shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone near the Yemini Coast.
The drone was reportedly surveillingYemen when a Houthi militia fired at the equipment, estimated to cost about $30 million.
Since the drone was shot down, the U.S. has not responded, and the Houthis have threatened to act against Israeli ships in the Red Sea.
A reporter asked Singh about the lack of response by the U.S. military, and whether it was inviting more aggressive action from the Houthis.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s inviting more aggressive or further response from the Houthis. We’ve seen the Houthis do this before,” Singh said. “We’ve seen one of our MQ-9s shot down before in the past. I’m not saying that we’re not going to respond. We always reserve the right to respond at a time and place of our choosing.”
She reiterated that the U.S. goal is to contain the conflict between Israel and Hamas to Gaza, which is where it has remained.
“I think we’ve been pretty clear in our message when it comes to deterrence, and we haven’t seen this conflict widen out,” Singh added.
But she was pressed further, as the U.S. goal of deterrence did not appear to be having any effect on the Houthis, who continue to fire missiles and threaten ships.
“You have to remember that one of our ships did act when the Houthis did fire missiles that were headed toward Israel. We did engage in that. We did bring those down,” Singh said. “We have a very robust presence in the region right now that is sending, I think, a very strong message of deterrence.”