Biden to witness return of remains of US soldiers killed in Jordan

DELAWARE – With US President Joe Biden bearing witness, the remains of three American soldiers killed in an attack by an Iranian-made drone in Jordan will arrive back in the United States on Feb 2.

The three Army Reserve soldiers killed on Jan 28 were Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Georgia; Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia, and Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia.

Mr Biden will join the families of those killed at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for what the US Air Force calls a “dignified transfer” of remains.

First lady Jill Biden will join the president along with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Air Force General Charles Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The White House said the Bidens will meet at the base with family members of the fallen before the transfer. He offered his condolences to the families in a phone call on Tuesday.

The remains are typically flown to Dover aboard a C-17 cargo plane. Working with solemn precision, a team of soldiers will carry the caskets from the open bay of the plane to gray mortuary vans, as the families and the presidential entourage watch.

The parents of Specialist Sanders, 23, shared a video of Mr Biden’s call with local media outlets. “I know there is nothing anybody can say or do to ease the pain, I’ve been there,” Mr Biden said, recounting the death of his first wife, infant daughter and grown son, Beau.

The drone attack by Iran-backed militants against the American outpost in Jordan, known as Tower 22, also injured more than 40.

Mr Biden said on Jan 30 he has made up his mind on how to respond. The expectation has been that there will be retaliatory strikes, but the timing of the response has been unclear.

A strike into Iranian territory itself did not appear likely after the White House said Mr Biden does not want a war with Iran.

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

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