U.S. Drone Strike Targets Kata’ib Hezbollah Militia Commander in Baghdad, Escalating Tensions
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 By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

In a recent development, a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad has reportedly killed three members of the influential Kata’ib Hezbollah militia, including a high-ranking commander, according to U.S. officials. This strike is believed to be in retaliation for a previous drone attack that claimed the lives of three U.S. troops in Jordan at the end of January.

Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford, reporting directly from the scene, describes an atmosphere of “great tension” and “a great deal of anger towards America” following the strike. Crawford notes that there has been a furious response to the incident, with locals demanding an investigation by the Iraqi government and seeking revenge.

“The locals round here are demanding an investigation by the Iraqi government, demanding that there is revenge. There is a great deal of anger, a great deal of tension here,” Crawford reports.

The drone strike occurred on a main road in the Mashtal neighborhood in eastern Baghdad on Wednesday night. U.S. officials have identified the target as a senior Kata’ib Hezbollah commander. Unconfirmed reports suggest that among the casualties is Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al Saadi, the commander overseeing Kata’ib Hezbollah’s operations in Syria.

In the aftermath of the drone strike in Jordan, Kata’ib Hezbollah announced a suspension of attacks on American troops to avoid “embarrassing the Iraqi government.” However, other factions have vowed to continue the fight.

The U.S. had previously blamed the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iran-backed militias, for the attack in Jordan, pointing specifically at Kata’ib Hezbollah. The strike in Baghdad has further escalated tensions in the region.

Security forces have sealed off the heavily guarded Green Zone, where numerous diplomatic compounds are situated, amidst calls for protesters to storm the U.S. embassy. The incident comes on the heels of a drone strike on the Tower 22 military base in Jordan, where three soldiers were killed and over 40 others were injured.

President Joe Biden has promised a robust U.S. response to these escalating tensions. Kata’ib Hezbollah, known for its anti-American stance, was founded in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and views U.S. troops as foreign occupiers. The group was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 2009, and a previous American drone strike killed its leader, Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, in 2020 at Baghdad airport.

Since October 18, there have been 166 reported attacks on U.S. military installations, including 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria, and the aforementioned incident at Tower 22 in Jordan. The situation remains fluid as authorities work to address the aftermath of the recent drone strike in Baghdad.

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