Kataib Hezbollah commander killed in Baghdad in US strike

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US military strikes Kataib Hezbollah Commander in Iraq in response to attacks on American troops.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb 8: In a targeted operation, the US military announced the death of a commander from Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed armed group in Iraq, during a strike conducted on Wednesday. The strike, described as unilateral by US forces, was executed in response to attacks on American service members.

According to a statement from the military, the strike specifically targeted a Kataib Hezbollah commander directly involved in planning and executing attacks against US forces in the region. The statement refrained from naming the commander.

Importantly, the military emphasized that there were no indications of civilian casualties resulting from the strike.

Unnamed security sources, speaking anonymously, revealed that the commander in question was Abu Baqir al-Saadi. Reportedly, he was killed in a drone strike on a vehicle in eastern Baghdad. The strike resulted in the deaths of three individuals and the vehicle targeted was allegedly affiliated with Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a state security agency comprising numerous armed groups, many with ties to Iran.

Notably, Kataib Hezbollah fighters and commanders operate within the PMF framework. This strike comes in the context of heightened tensions, particularly following the deaths of three U.S. troops in January, attributed to Kataib Hezbollah’s actions. Subsequently, the group announced a suspension of military operations against U.S. forces in the region.

The region has witnessed escalating hostilities between hardline Iran-backed armed groups and US forces, particularly since the commencement of the Gaza war in October. Last weekend, the US conducted strikes on Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, signaling a retaliatory response following the deaths of the three American soldiers.

In recent history, the US has targeted senior militia commanders in Iraq, citing responses to drone and rocket attacks on its forces. This latest strike has prompted heightened security measures in Baghdad, with Iraqi special forces on high alert and additional deployments within the Green Zone, which houses international diplomatic missions including the US embassy, according to security sources.

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