Bharat Express

US Drone Strike in Baghdad Risks Igniting Fresh Middle East Crisis

Tensions rose in Baghdad after US vowed to defend interests. No civilian casualties reported in precision drone strike.

Crowds gather around damaged vehicle in Baghdad after alleged drone strike.

Crowds gather around damaged vehicle in Baghdad after alleged drone strike.

Officials have confirmed that a US drone strike in Baghdad on Wednesday night resulted in the death of a senior commander of the Kataib Hezbollah militia group, along with two other militants. The strike is part of a broader US campaign aimed at targeting Iran-backed militias in the region. This action follows a recent deadly drone attack on a US base in Jordan.

Who Was Wissam al-Saadi?

According to two militia officials, a US drone targeted a car in the Mashtal neighborhood of Baghdad, where Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al-Saadi, the head of Kataib Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, was traveling with two other group members. The strike, confirmed by US Central Command, aimed at Al-Saadi, who was allegedly responsible for orchestrating attacks on US forces in the region.

In a statement, US Central Command described the strike as a defensive precision operation against a Kata’ib Hezbollah commander actively involved in planning and executing attacks on US forces.

The strike resulted in a fire and a loud explosion, attracting crowds to the scene. Images depicted a charred and damaged car surrounded by emergency personnel and bystanders.

Fortunately, no civilian casualties were reported.

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Why the drone strike?

The US conducted the strike in response to a drone attack on a US base near the Syrian border on March 15, which resulted in the death of three American soldiers and injuries to several others. The attack was attributed to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a coalition of Iran-backed militias including Kataib Hezbollah. This coalition has claimed responsibility for multiple assaults on US bases in the Middle East, citing US support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza as justification.

In recent days, the US has launched airstrikes on militia targets in Iraq and Syria, targeting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its proxies, which the US accuses of escalating violence in the region.

These actions by the US have drawn criticism from the Iraqi government, which has called for an end to violations of its sovereignty and the adherence to security agreements with the US. Kataib Hezbollah announced a halt to its attacks on US forces to prevent further escalation and avoid embarrassment for Iraqi authorities.

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US Secretary of State seeks peace amid escalating tensions with Iran

The US drone strike in Baghdad coincided with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. During his visit, Blinken engaged with leaders and reaffirmed US commitment to facilitating a lasting cease-fire and a two-state solution to the conflict.

Blinken also expressed efforts to broker a regional peace agreement involving Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. These nations have urged Israel to cease its occupation and settlement activities in Palestinian territories.

Addressing escalating tensions, Blinken emphasized the role of Iran and its proxies in perpetuating violence. He underscored the US commitment to defending its people and assets amid these challenges.