US Airstrike Kills Militia Leader Blamed For Attacks On US Troops In Iraq

Screenshot / Sabreen News via Tammuz Intel @Tammuz_Intel / X /

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. killed the commander of an Iraqi militant group in a retaliatory airstrike in Baghdad on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing a U.S. official.

Rockets struck the headquarters for the designated terrorist organization Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, which is associated with Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Force (PMF), killing four including a regional commander and one of his aides, according to reports from Reuters and The Associated Press. The commander was associated with dozens of drone and rocket attacks on U.S. and coalition bases in Iraq in recent months, the U.S. official told the outlet.

“The United States is continuing to take action to protect our forces in Iraq and Syria by addressing the threats they face,” a U.S. official told the Daily Caller News Foundation without explicitly confirming the U.S. military conducted Thursday’s airstrikes. (RELATED: US Strikes Facilities Used By Iran-Backed Groups In Retaliation For Attack Leaving One American Critically Wounded)

The Pentagon confirmed the attack later on Thursday.

“U.S. forces took necessary and proportionate action” against a militia leader who went by Abu-Taqwa, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said. “Abu Takwa was actively involved in planning and carrying out attacks against American personnel,” he said, noting that no civilians were harmed and no infrastructure or facilities struck.

Witnesses and local police saw a drone shoot two missiles at the facilities in eastern Baghdad, according to Reuters. Videos circulated on social media depicting a burned-out and collapsed vehicle, apparently the target of the strike, and the rubble of what was formerly the al-Nujaba headquarters.

The U.S. military targeted the vehicle with intent to kill the militia leader, and that objective was completed, the U.S. official told Reuters.

The PMF announced in a statement on social media channels that that Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi, or “Abu Taqwa,” the deputy leader of Baghdad operations, was killed “as a result of brutal American aggression,” the AP reported.

The U.S. maintains a presence of about 2,500 troops in Iraq and an additional 900 in Syria to carry out an ongoing mission to defeat the Islamic State.

Iran-backed militant groups in Iraq have carried out more than 100 one-way drone and missile attacks on American military personnel since Oct. 17. The militias hold Washington partially responsible for Israel’s war in Gaza and have vowed to punish the U.S. for enabling the conflict.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani called the attack a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and accused the U.S. of killing one Iraqi service member and wounding 18 people, including civilians, according to The Washington Post.

“The Iraqi armed forces hold the international coalition forces responsible for this unjustified attack on an Iraqi security entity,” the prime minister’s military spokesman said in a statement.

Al-Sudani has nominal control over the PMF, whose support he gained to win the latest election, according to media reports.

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