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US forces in Middle East attacked more than 8 times before Secretary Lloyd Austin resumed duties in hospital

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American forces in the Middle East were attacked eight times during the time that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spent in the hospital before resuming his job on Friday, Fox News has learned.

Five additional incidents took place after Austin resumed his job on Friday night, bringing the total to 128 attacks since October 17 and 13 attacks since he was hospitalized.

The Biden administration official was checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 1 after experiencing 'severe pain.' He was taken to an intensive care unit (ICU) and 'resum[ed] his duties' on Friday, but still remains in the medical center.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said that Austin's ailment was a result of complications from an elective medical procedure, but did not give extensive details about the stay.

'Since resuming his duties on Friday evening, the Secretary has received operational updates and has provided necessary guidance to his team,' Ryder said in a statement to Fox News Digital. 'He has full access to required communications capabilities and continues to monitor DoD’s day-to-day operations worldwide.'

The Pentagon and the Biden administration have been criticized by Republican politicians for allegedly not communicating properly about the hospitalization. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told Fox News Digital that the incident 'further erodes trust in the Biden Administration, which has repeatedly failed to inform the public in a timely fashion about critical events.'

The recent Middle East incidents were targeted at U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria and began amid the escalation of the Israel-Hamas war.

Iran-backed terrorist groups have repeatedly targeted American forces with a mix of one-way drones and rockets. On January 2, one-way attack drones targeted Mission Support Site Green Village in Syria twice and targeted Erbil Airbase in Iraq once. Several rockets were launched towards Patrol Base Shaddadi in Syria on that day as well.

On January 3, a one-way attack drone was launched at U.S. forces in Al-Tanf Garrison in Syria. 

Mission Support Site Green Village in Syria was targeted with a one-way attack drone on January 4, while two other drones targeted Al-Tanf Garrison in Syria and Patrol Base Shaddadi in Syria on January 5.

No casualties from any of the eight incidents were reported. There was also no reported damage to infrastructure.

Fox News Digital's Greg Wehner, Emma Colton and Liz Friden contributed to this report.

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