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U.S. strike kills Iran-backed militia leader in Iraq

U.S. strike kills Iran-backed militia leader in Iraq Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

The United States military has carried out an airstrike in Baghdad targeting a high-ranking commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), accusing him of attacks on U.S. forces in the country, reports Reuters.

A spokesperson for the U.S. stated that the strike hit a vehicle in the Iraqi capital on Thursday, January 4.

The intended target was one of the leaders of the Iraqi militia group al-Nujaba'a, although the official did not disclose his name.

Tensions in the region are escalating, fueled by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, with concerns that it may spill over into neighboring countries. The PMF, a coalition of paramilitary groups nominally under the control of the Iraqi military, announced in a statement that the deputy head of its operations in Baghdad, Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi, also known as Abu Taqwa was killed "as a result of brutal American aggression."

According to a representative of the paramilitary group, Saadi was entering the garage of a facility associated with the al-Nujaba militia when his vehicle was targeted, resulting in the deaths of both individuals.

Since the start of the conflict between Israel and Gaza on October 7, a group of paramilitaries supported by Iran and calling themselves the Islamic Resistance in Iraq has launched several attacks on buildings.

The situation in the Middle East

The U.S.-Iran clash occurred against the backdrop of the ongoing Israeli war with the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip and escalating tensions in the region. Allied groups with Iran in Iraq and Syria are opposing the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) campaign in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, holding Washington responsible for its support for the Israeli side.

U.S. military officials stated that as a result of the strikes in Iraq, several Hezbollah militants were likely killed, and facilities used by the group were destroyed.

In December, the Lebanese group Hezbollah vowed to escalate attacks on U.S. military bases in the Middle East.