Drone attacks on American bases injured two dozen U.S. military personnel

Two dozen American military personnel were wounded last week in a series of drone attacks at American bases in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command told NBC News on Tuesday.

The Pentagon confirmed the attacks last week, but the number of U.S. casualties has not been previously disclosed.

Twenty American personnel sustained minor injuries on Oct. 18 when at least two one-way attack drones targeted al-Tanf military base in southern Syria, CENTCOM said.

One of the drones was shot down. All of the wounded personnel were returned to duty, CENTCOM said, and there was no damage to any military installations.

On that same day, another four American personnel suffered minor injuries during two separate drone attacks against U.S. and coalition forces stationed at al-Asad base in western Iraq, CENTCOM said.

The U.S. shot down the one-way attack drones, but the debris from one destroyed a hanger that contained small aircraft, CENTCOM said. All of the injured personnel returned to duty.

An American civilian contractor died due to a cardiac incident during a shelter-in-place order, but it did not occur during one of the drone attacks.

The attacks came amid rising tensions in the region over the conflict in Israel.

Follow live coverage from NBC News here.

Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said Tuesday that over the past week U.S. and coalition forces were attacked at least 10 separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria “via a mix of one way attack drones and rockets.”

Ryder said the groups conducting the attacks are supported by Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region in the very near term coming from Iranian proxy forces, and ultimately from Iran,” Ryder said.

“We always reserve the right to defend ourselves and we will never hesitate to take action when needed to protect our forces and our interests overseas,” he added.

The al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria in 2018. U.S. troops have maintained a presence at the base.Lolita Baldor / AP file

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