Abu Baqir al-Saadi, a senior commander in Iraq’s Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, was killed in Baghdad by a 7 February US drone strike. The strike is part of a US retaliation for the Iraqi militia killing three US servicemen in a Jordan outpost on 28 January (MEES, 2 February). Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder says Mr Saadi, who was believed to oversee Kataib Hezbollah’s logistics, was “responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces in the region.”

The surgical daytime strike on a car in which Mr Saadi was travelling in a busy area of the Iraqi capital is unprecedented, prompting PM Mohammed al-Sudani’s military spokesman Major General Yehia Rasool to say that Iraq is compelled “more than ever” to expel US forces. According to local media reports, Iraqi militias may revoke their fragile suspension of attacks on US forces in the upcoming days in response to the strike. (CONTINUED - 151 WORDS)