A US drone strike in Baghdad kills a militia leader backed by Iran

A US drone strike in Baghdad has claimed the life of a senior commander of a militia supported by Iran. A car carrying a Kataib Hezbollah leader and two of his guards was attacked east of the capital of Iraq. They were all three killed. According to the Pentagon, the commander was in charge of planning and carrying out assaults against US personnel in the area. The US has connected the militia to last month’s drone attack in Jordan that claimed the lives of three US soldiers. Following that assault, Kataib Hezbollah declared that it would not be attacking US forces in order to spare the Iraqi government “embarrassment”. The drone attack on Wednesday night occurred in the Mashtal neighborhood of Baghdad and resulted in many loud explosions.

 

According to US Central Command (Centcom), the “commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces in the region” was killed in the strike, which took place at 21:30 local time (18:30 GMT). The Centcom statement stated, “At this time, there are no indications of civilian casualties or collateral damage.” Upon the arrival of a BBC team, large gatherings of demonstrators were heard yelling, “America is the biggest devil.” Heavy police presence was augmented by Iraq’s interior ministry’s Swat units.

 

When the BBC crew attempted to approach the charred car, bystanders drove them away, saying that journalists were not allowed. One man yelled, “You are foreigners, and foreigners are to blame for this.” There were rumors of protestors making their way to the heavily guarded US embassy. Days have passed since the US carried out 85 strikes in Syria and Iraq in retribution for the deadly drone attack on US forces on January 28. The series of strikes that began last Friday, according to President Joe Biden, was only the start of the US reaction. The US retaliation is expected to significantly escalate in response to the drone strike in the capital of Iraq. Prior attacks have exclusively struck the border region between Syria and Iraq.

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