Baghdad officials have confirmed that Abu Baqir al-Saadi, a senior commander from the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah group, was killed in a drone strike in eastern Baghdad. The strike targeted a vehicle used by Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), which is composed of armed groups closely linked to Iran. Two officials with Iran-backed armed groups in Iraq have also confirmed al-Saadi’s death.
The area where the attack occurred is known to be a stronghold for armed factions, including Kataib Hezbollah fighters who are part of the PMF. This comes after three US troops were killed in a drone attack near the Jordan-Syria border, which the Pentagon attributed to Kataib Hezbollah. The group had previously announced a suspension of military operations against US troops in the region.
The ongoing conflict between Iran-backed armed groups and US forces in the region has resulted in near-daily tit-for-tat attacks in Iraq and Syria. Last weekend, the US struck Iran-backed Iraqi groups in response to the killing of the three US soldiers in the drone attack. This retaliation has put Iraqi special forces on high alert in Baghdad and heightened security measures within the Green Zone, which houses international diplomatic missions including the US embassy. There has been no immediate comment from US officials on the recent blast.