Militants linked to Kataib Hezbollah killed in suspected drone missile strike
US forces on Wednesday killed a commander of an Iran-backed militant group in Iraq that has been attacking US forces in the region, the US Central Command announced.
The suspected drone strike hit a car in Baghdad. Consecutive blasts were heard in the east of the Iraqi capital and a vehicle was seen in flames moments later.
Security sources told media that two men who were killed in the car were affiliated with Kataib Hezbollah, a powerful Iran-backed militia responsible most of the attacks against US troops in Iraq and Syria.
The strike comes after US forces hit dozens of targets in Iraq and Syria last week in retaliation for an attack on a US base in Jordan that killed three US troops.
While US officials said the initial assessment was one person was killed, and no civilians hurt or killed, two officials with Iran-backed militias in Iraq said that three died, AP reported.
Centcom said the strike had killed “a Kataib Hezbollah commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces in the region”.
“There are no indications of collateral damage or civilian casualties at this time,” Centcom said on X.
An Iraqi security official told media that the car belonged to the Popular Mobilisation Forces, in reference to the umbrella group of government-sanctioned militias.
“At least two PMF leaders were inside the car,” the official said.
One of the two targets was Wissam Al Saiedi, who was in charge of logistics for the group, according to two police officers.
A Telegram channel linked to Kataib Hezbollah mourned “the engineer of the missiles of the Iraqi resistance”, without directly identifying him.
Iraq’s Security Media Cell denounced the attack as a “clear violation and a breach of Iraqi sovereignty, dragging the region into serious consequences”.
“This new aggression undermines all understandings,” Maj Gen Tahseen Al Khafaji, head of ISMC, said in a statement.
“We hold the American side and the coalition forces responsible for the repercussions of these dangerous acts that threaten the security and safety of the country.”
Iraqi police believe the strike was from a drone.
“A car was on fire in Baghdad’s eastern neighbourhood of Al Mashtal,” a police officer told media. “It was probably hit by a missile fired from a drone. We are investigating.”
Conflict between US forces and Iran-backed militias in Iraq has intensified since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war in October.
Mr Al Saiedi was a senior member of Kataib Hezbollah who oversaw missile power and the group operations in Syria.