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Reaction to drone strike on US troops in Jordan

President Biden travels to South Carolina

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Three U.S. service members were killed and as many as 34 wounded, United States officials said on Sunday, after a drone attack in Jordan that they linked to Iranian-backed militants.

The attack is a major escalation of the tensions in the Middle East sparked by Hamas' attack in Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel's retaliatory strikes that have devastated Gaza.

Here are reactions from key policy makers in the United States and several countries:

DEMOCRATIC U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

"The three American service members we lost were patriots in the highest sense. And their ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten by our nation ... We will carry on their commitment to fight terrorism. And have no doubt - we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner our choosing."

REPUBLICAN FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP

"The drone attack on a U.S. Military Installation in Jordan, killing 3 American service members, and wounding many more, marks a horrible day for America ... This brazen attack on the United States is yet another horrific and tragic consequence of Joe Biden's weakness and surrender."

REPUBLICAN U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NIKKI HALEY

"What they should be doing is going after every ounce of production of those missiles. Wherever those missile sites are, you take that out. You take out the training sites... You go after the leaders making the decisions. It's not after Iran the country."

"Biden still to this second has not increased sanctions on Iran... there are things we can do that are not war... You have to be tough. That doesn't mean starting a war. That actually means preventing a war."

LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY

"Iran-backed militias are responsible for these continued attacks on U.S. forces, and we will respond at a time and place of our choosing."

BEN CARDIN, DEMOCRATIC U.S. SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS CHAIR

"This attack on U.S. and coalition troops in Jordan — our steadfast regional partner — is an escalation, and cannot go unanswered. I support President Biden in a deliberate and proportionate response."

MICHAEL MCCAUL, REPUBLICAN U.S. HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS PANEL CHAIR

"We need a major reset of our Middle East policy to protect our national security interests and restore deterrence."

CHUCK SCHUMER, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER

"We mourn the deaths of the three service members killed by a drone attack in Jordan from an Iran-backed militant group. We are all praying for the safety and recovery of the dozens who were injured. My heart is with the families of those killed and injured. We must work to hold those responsible accountable."

MITCH MCCONNELL, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER

"The cost of failure to deter America's adversaries was again measured in American lives. We cannot afford to keep responding to this violent aggression with hesitation and half-measures ... The entire world now watches for signs that the President is finally prepared to exercise American strength to compel Iran to change its behavior. Our enemies are emboldened."

MIKE JOHNSON, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER

"America must send a crystal clear message across the globe that attacks on our troops will not be tolerated."

REPRESENTATIVE HAKEEM JEFFRIES, DEMOCRATIC U.S. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER

"Every single malignant actor responsible must be held accountable."

EGYPT'S FOREIGN MINISTRY

"Egypt affirmed its strong condemnation of any terrorist acts that threaten the security and stability of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, expressing full solidarity with Jordan in this delicate situation... Egypt emphasized the necessity of confronting all forms of terrorism and rejecting all manifestations of violence to ensure the stability of the region."

IRAQI GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON BASIM ALAWADI

"The Iraqi government condemns the ongoing escalation, particularly the recent attack on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and is closely monitoring with great concern the alarming security developments in the region."

ISRAEL'S FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER ISRAEL KATZ

"We stand united in our values and battle against a common enemy. Their sacrifice will always be remembered. Rest in peace. Wishing a speedy recovery to the injured."

JACK REED, DEMOCRATIC U.S. SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIR

"The Department of Defense is still gathering all the facts from this attack. I am confident the Biden administration will respond in a deliberate and proportional manner."

ROGER WICKER, U.S. SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE RANKING REPUBLICAN

"We must respond to these repeated attacks by Iran and its proxies by striking directly against Iranian targets and its leadership. The Biden administration's responses thus far have only invited more attacks."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Kanishka Singh, Emily Rose, and Hatem Maher; Editing by Heather Timmons, Matthew Lewis and Lisa Shumaker)