A U.S. drone strike in the Iraqi capital killed Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) commander Wissam Muhammed Saber, who was “directly planning and participating in attacks” on American troops in the region.
“U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces conducted a unilateral strike in Iraq in response to the attacks on U.S. service members, killing a Kata’ib Hezbollah commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region,” said CENTCOM.
In addition to Saber, the strike killed KH commander Arkan al-Alawi.
The strike adds to a small but growing list of Iraqi militia commanders eliminated by the U.S. in the region since January.
For example, on Jan. 4, a U.S. strike killed Abu Taqwa Al Si’adi, a mid-level commander from Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba’.
KH published a statement mourning the death of Saber but did not mention any details about the airstrike.
Following the strike, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba’ issued a statement condemning the killings and vowed to retaliate against the U.S. and its allies. Other Iran-led Axis of Resistance members also issued statements condemning the U.S. for the targeted operation.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the American aggression against brotherly Iraq, which led to the martyrdom of leaders in the Iraqi resistance,” Islamic Jihad said in a statement.
Despite the Biden administration’s signaling that it does not want war in the region, the U.S. has taken a positive step to hold Iran-backed groups accountable for killing and injuring American troops. However, it is disappointing that it took the killing of three American soldiers and the wounding of numerous troops for the U.S. to harden its stance against Iran and its proxy militias.