US Retaliates Against Iran-Supported Iraqi Militia

The head of a militia with Iranian support that has been involved in many assaults on American forces in Iraq has been slain in what US authorities are characterizing as a targeted bombing in the center of Baghdad. Speaking under anonymity to discuss specifics of the operation, U.S. defense sources stated that the lunchtime strike killed Mushtaq Jawad Kazim al-Jawari and another militia member by targeting a car outside the Harakat-al-Nujaba militia headquarters. According to one official who spoke with VOA, Al-Jawari, also known as Abu-Taqwa, “was actively involved in planning and carrying out attacks against American personnel,” making the American strike “necessary and proportionate.

 

Concerns concerning the actions of Harakat-al-Nujaba were brought up by the United States in recent discussions with senior Iraqi authorities, including Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin forewarned Sudani during a teleconference last month that the bulk of the recent attacks on U.S. troops were the product of Harakat-al-Nujaba and Kataib Hezbollah. Austin also stated that the United States “reserves the right to respond decisively against those groups – to address threats and attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel,” according to a Pentagon transcript of the discussion. Harakat-al-Nujaba has also been labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States. Nonetheless, Iraqi officials criticized the American strike that occurred in Baghdad on Thursday.

 

Major General Patrick Ryder, the press secretary for the Pentagon, told reporters on Thursday that Iraq is a significant and valued partner and pledged to keep in touch and work together. According to him, the Iraqi security forces have persisted in helping to pinpoint instances in which these Iranian proxies have attacked American personnel. “This is a crucial partner to us, and we’ll continue to lean into that connection. The operation on Thursday comes after a string of U.S. strikes against Iranian-linked targets in Syria and Iraq that began in October. Among those airstrikes was one that took place last month in response to attacks on U.S. soldiers at Irbil Air Base and hit three locations utilized by Iranian-linked Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq.

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