Biden honours US soldiers killed in Jordan

President and first lady Jill Biden observe dignified transfer alongside Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin

President Joe Biden attends the dignified transfer of the remains of three US soldiers who were killed in Jordan. Reuters
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With US President Joe Biden bearing witness, the remains of three American soldiers killed in Jordan in an attack by an Iranian-made drone arrived in the US on Friday.

The US has said it will conduct retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed targets following the attack which hit the barracks of a remote US base.

The three Army Reserve soldiers killed on Sunday were Sgt William Rivers, Spc Kennedy Sanders and Spc Breonna Moffett.

Mr Biden joined families at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for what the US Air Force called a “dignified transfer” of remains.

After meeting family members privately, the President placed a hand over his heart as the flag-draped transfer cases were brought out of the plane one by one.

He previously offered his condolences to the families in a phone call on Tuesday.

Mr Biden has attended dignified transfers before as president. In 2021, he attended the return of 13 US service members killed in a terror attack outside Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

First lady Jill Biden joined the President along with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Air Force Gen Charles Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The parents of Spc Sanders shared a video of Mr Biden's previous call with local media outlets, in which he said: “I know there is nothing anybody can say or do to ease the pain – I've been there,” Mr Biden said, recounting the deaths of his first wife, infant daughter and adult son Beau.

The drone attack by Iran-backed militants against the American outpost in Jordan, known as Tower 22, also injured more than 40 people. It raised fears of a larger war in the Middle East, where the Israel-Gaza conflict threatens to boil over.

The US has assessed that Iran manufactured the drone used in the attack, four officials told Reuters.

Updated: February 02, 2024, 8:36 PM