According to officials, a U.S. drone strike blew up a car in Iraq on Wednesday night, killing three members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia group, including a high-ranking commander.
Two Iran-backed militia officials reported to the journalists that one of the three militants killed in the strike was identified as Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al-Saadi, the commander in charge of Kataib Hezbollah’s operations in Syria. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to the journalists.
Multiple sources reported that the drone strike is part of a U.S. retaliatory attack over a drone assault that killed three American soldiers in Jordan last month. However, the U.S. has blamed the Islamic Resistance in Iraq for the attack in Jordan, and officials have blamed the Kataib Hezbollah group in particular for leading it.
BREAKING: A U.S. drone strike targeted heads of Iran-backed militia in Baghdad, officials say. The group says a commander was killed. https://t.co/n5qM1nYey0
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 7, 2024
According to the New York Post, The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has repeatedly claimed responsibility for strikes on bases in the Middle East housing U.S. troops, saying the attacks are in response to America’s support for Israel in the war in Gaza.
There have been nearly 170 attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since October 18, but the latest drone strike in Jordan was the first to take American troops’ lives.
Kataib Hezbollah had said in a statement that it was suspending attacks on American troops to avoid embarrassing the Iraqi government after the strike in Jordan.
A U.S. drone strike hit a car in the Iraqi capital Wednesday night, killing three members of the powerful Kataib Hezbollah militia, including a high-ranking commander, officials said.https://t.co/p5G05IKAGV
— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) February 8, 2024
Recently, the group claimed responsibility for a drone strike in eastern Syria that killed six fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group allied with the United States.
The most recent flare-up in the regional conflict occurred after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vowed to fight until absolute victory, rejected conditions put forth by Hamas for a hostage-release deal that would result in a complete cease-fire.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said America and its allies needed to restore stability to the region.
Blinken said he will continue to work on a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas, which was rejected by Netanyahu earlier that day.