Senior Iran-backed militia leader killed in US drone strike in Baghdad

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that the U.S. military has successfully eliminated a high-ranking leader of an Iran-backed militia group. This militia group has been responsible for numerous attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria in recent times.

According to the Pentagon, the Biden administration carried out a drone strike on the leader of Kataib Hezbollah in eastern Baghdad as part of its multi-phase retaliation for the Jan. 28 drone strike on Tower 22, a small outpost in Jordan. The attack on Tower 22 resulted in the death of three U.S. soldiers and left several others injured.

According to a statement from U.S. Central Command, the strike resulted in the killing of the Kataib Hezbollah commander who was directly involved in planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region. The statement further mentioned that there were no reports of civilian casualties or collateral damage.

According to the statement, the United States is committed to taking necessary action to ensure the safety of its people. It further emphasizes that there will be no hesitation in holding accountable those who pose a threat to the security of US forces.

On Wednesday, a drone attack occurred following last week’s U.S. airstrikes on 85 targets connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its affiliated militias in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. had previously stated that the airstrikes were just the initial phase of their response, implying that further attacks were to be expected in the coming days.

According to the Associated Press, three individuals were killed on Wednesday, including Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al-Saadi, the leader of Kataib Hezbollah’s operations in Syria.

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The U.S. is further entangling itself in a retaliatory battle with Iran by targeting militia leaders supported by Tehran. Despite wanting to avoid a war with Iran, the Biden administration has been careful not to strike any locations within Iran’s borders.

Since October 17, American troops in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan have been targeted by militias over 160 times. This surge in attacks coincided with Israel’s invasion of Gaza in response to Hamas’ terrorist attacks on October 7. In retaliation, the U.S. has conducted multiple strikes on Tehran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria, resulting in the deaths of militia members.

The situation in the broader Middle East is deteriorating, as demonstrated by the Wednesday drone strike. In Gaza, Israel is engaged in ongoing conflict with Hamas, with efforts underway to negotiate a cease-fire and secure the release of hostages. Meanwhile, the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen persist in targeting commercial ships in the Red Sea, leading the U.S. and its allies to take preemptive or retaliatory measures against these threats.

Militia groups in Iraq and Syria appear to be scaling back their activities. Following the U.S. attack on January 28, Kataib Hezbollah released a statement declaring a halt to their attacks on U.S. positions. Since the U.S. strikes on February 2, there have been only two attacks on U.S. troops in the region, both of which occurred in Syria.

The U.S. has not declared the conclusion of its retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militias, which implies that other leaders of Iranian-backed militia groups may soon become targets.

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President Joe Biden issued a stern warning to anyone who poses a threat to the United States, emphasizing that if an American is harmed, there will be a swift and decisive response. This statement was made by President Biden in response to the initial retaliation.

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