US retaliatory airstrikes updates: White House vows to take 'more action' after deadly drone attack

Saturday's strikes in Yemen followed ones in Iraq and Syria the day prior.

The United States on Friday began to carry out airstrikes against Iran-backed militants and Iranian military targets in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for a drone attack on an American base in Jordan on Jan. 28 that killed three U.S. service members.

Dozens of other American troops were wounded in the drone attack on the Tower 22 base near Jordan's border with Iraq and Syria. The U.S. says Iran is responsible for funding and arming the militants while Iran has denied involvement.

U.S. President Joe Biden had quickly warned that America would respond forcefully, escalating U.S. involvement in the Middle East after months of trying to contain tensions from boiling over into a broader war in the region.

What we know about the drone attack on US base in Jordan

The U.S. has attributed the drone attack on the American base in Jordan to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias.

According to a U.S. official, the drone that successfully hit the base was an Iranian-made Shahed drone, similar to those used by the Russians on the battlefield in Ukraine.

Iran has denied involvement in the Jordan strike. But President Joe Biden earlier this week faulted Iran for providing munitions and funding to these different proxy groups.

The U.S. base is known as Tower 22, a major logistical hub for U.S. troops still in Syria on a mission to prevent a resurgence by Islamic State fighters. According to Central Command, there are approximately 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel deployed to the base.


Another US strike hits 4 anti-ship cruise missiles

U.S. Central Command forces conducted what CENTCOM said was a "strike in self-defense against a Houthi land attack cruise missile," earlier on Sunday.

CENTCOM confirmed the incident -- which it said was due to an "imminent threat" -- happened at 10:30 a.m. local time. U.S. forces hit four anti-ship cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, which it says were "prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea."

CENTCOM said the threat was to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the area.

"These actions will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels," CENTCOM said in a release Sunday night.

-ABC News' Nathan Luna

More retaliatory operations planned after troop deaths, official says

The U.S. will take "more action" against Iran-backed militants in response to the deadly drone attack in Jordan last week, the White House's national security adviser said in an interview on Sunday.

"This was the beginning of our response, there will be more steps," Jake Sullivan told ABC News "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos. "Some of those steps will be seen, some may not be seen. But there will be more action taken to respond to the the tragic death of the three brave U.S. service members."

The U.S. has blamed Iran-backed fighters for the attack on Tower 22 in Jordan on Jan. 28.

Iran has denied involvement. Pressed by Stephanopoulos whether additional strikes could escalation tension with Iran, Sullivan said it's something the U.S. is prepared for.

"This is something that we have to look at as a threat," he said. "We have to prepare for every contingency, and we are prepared for that contingency. And I would just say, from the perspective of Tehran, if they chose to respond directly to the United States, they would be met with a swift and forceful response from us."

-ABC News' Fritz Farrow

US destroys anti-ship cruise missile in Yemen: CENTCOM

Early Sunday morning, the United States conducted a strike "in self-defense against a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile prepared to launch against ships in the Red Sea," a statement from the U.S. Central Command forces said.

Around 4 a.m. locally, U.S. forces identified a cruise missile in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined it presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region, according to CENTCOM.

According to the release, "This action will protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure for U.S. Navy vessels and merchant vessels."

Airstrikes on Yemen aim to stop attacks against US ships and international commercial vessels

The round of airstrikes launched by the U.S. and U.K. on Saturday “further degraded the Houthis’ capability to continue their illegal and reckless attacks" against U.S. ships and international commercial vessels, according to a senior U.S. administration official.

"The U.S. does not want escalation, and these strikes are directly in response to the actions by the Iranian-backed Houthis," the senior administration official said. "They are unrelated to the action the United States took on Friday in response to the continued attacks on our troops and facilities in Iraq and Syria."

The official emphasizes that the U.S. has “rallied a global coalition” to condemn and hold the Houthis accountable, adding that this is the third round of strikes as part of the coalition that includes the U.S., UK, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, the Netherlands, and now also Denmark and New Zealand.

-ABC News' Selina Wang