US carries out strike targeting Iraqi militia leader in Baghdad: official

Four members of an Iran-aligned Iraqi militia group — including a high-ranking Iraqi militia commander — were killed in a drone strike in Baghdad on Thursday, according to reports by The Associated Press and Reuters.

A U.S. official has confirmed to Fox News that the U.S. was responsible for the strike, which targeted an Iraqi militia leader in Baghdad who is believed responsible for attacks on U.S. forces.

The official says this was a precision strike on a vehicle and not a hit on a whole facility as other outlets have reported. The strike targeted a leader of the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi Shi’ite military group, the U.S. official said. 

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Iraq's security forces convoy

Iraqi security forces arrive at the site where Al-Nujaba senior commander Abu Taqwa Al-Saidi was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on Thursday. (Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“The United States is continuing to take action to protect our forces in Iraq and Syria by addressing the threats they face,” a statement from the U.S. military official read. 

Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba has links to Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a coalition of militias that is nominally under the control of the Iraqi military.

The PMF announced in a statement that its deputy head of operations in Baghdad, Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi, or “Abu Taqwa,” had been killed in the strike, which was “as a result of brutal American aggression,” according to the AP.

Six others were wounded in the strike, according to Reuters.

Iraqi military spokesman Yehia Rasool said in a statement that the Iraqi army “holds the International Coalition Forces responsible for this unprovoked attack on an Iraqi security body operating in accordance with the powers granted to it by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.”

 Iraqi security forces arrive to inspect the site where Al-Nujaba senior commander Abu Taqwa Al-Saidi was killed in a US drone strike

Iraqi security forces arrive to inspect the site where Al-Nujaba senior commander Abu Taqwa Al-Saidi was killed in a U.S. drone strike on Thursday. The Iraqi militia leader, who is confirmed dead, is believed to have been responsible for attacks on U.S. forces. (Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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Fox News Digital requested comments from the State Department and the White House but did not immediately receive a response. 

Thursday’s strike comes amid mounting regional tensions fueled by the Israel-Hamas war and fears that it could spill over into surrounding countries. It also coincides with a push by Iraqi officials for U.S.-led coalition forces to leave the country.

Several ambulances arrive to the site where Al-Nujaba senior commander Abu Taqwa Al-Saidi was killed

Medical teams arrive to the site where Al-Nujaba senior commander Abu Taqwa Al-Saidi was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad on Thursday. (Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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On Tuesday, Iraqi forces shot down an armed drone over the Erbil Airport in northern Iraq, where U.S. and other international forces are stationed, according to a report.

U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 115 times since Oct. 17, according to U.S. defense officials. The Pentagon does not count attacks on U.S. warships at sea in this number.

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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