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US strike in Baghdad kills pro-Iran commander

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BAGHDAD: A US drone strike blew up a car in the Iraqi capital Wednesday night, killing a high-ranking commander of the Kataib Hezbollah militia who is responsible for “directly planning and participating in attacks” on American troops in the region, the US military said. The precision blast hit a main thoroughfare in the Mashtal neighbourhood in Baghdad.
Security forces closed off the heavily guarded Green Zone, where a number of diplomatic compounds are located, and there were concerns about social media postings urging protesters to storm the US embassy. There were conflicting reports on the number of those killed, with US officials saying the initial assessment was one, and saying there were no civilian casualties. But two officials with Iran-backed militias in Iraq said that three died, including Abu Baqir Al-Saadi, the commander in charge of Kataib Hezbollah’s operations in Syria. Kataeb Hezbollah later announced his death.
Repeated US strikes against Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq are pushing the Baghdad govt to end the mission of the US-led coalition in the country, the Iraqi PM’s military spokesperson said Thursday. Yahya Rasool said the coalition “has become a factor for instability and threatens to entangle Iraq in the cycle of conflict”.

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