A mob of angry men convened in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday night at the site of a U.S. drone strike that killed several senior members of the Kata’ib Hezbollah terrorist organization, reportedly shouting “America is the Great Satan” and other jihadist slogans.
Some reports indicated that the men were displaying the slogan used by the Shiite terrorist Houthi movement, which reads, “Allahu Akbar, Death to America, Death to Israel, a Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam”:
Iraqi citizens protest recent US aggression following the assassination of a Kataib Hezbollah Iraq leader, commander Abu Baqir al-Saadi. Demonstrators carry the slogan of Yemen's Ansarallah as a symbol of unity. pic.twitter.com/WVRaqXSMrX
— The Cradle (@TheCradleMedia) February 7, 2024
“’Allah is great, America is the great Satan,’” shout some demonstrators in a video published on social networks,” the Italian Agenzia Nova reported:
British agency Sky News, which had reporters on sight in Baghdad, said that some of the crowds attempted to convene in front of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified neighborhood in the capital, which hosts several foreign embassies, including America’s, shouting “death to America” and menacing some reporters present. The Sky News team left when a man “warned us we needed to leave the area after telling us parts of the crowd wanted to attack us and our vehicle”:
U.S. Central Command announced on Wednesday that it had taken action, “killing a Kata’ib Hezbollah commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region.”
“There are no indications of collateral damage or civilian casualties at this time,” the U.S. military statement read. “The United States will continue to take necessary action to protect our people. We will not hesitate to hold responsible all those who threaten our forces’ safety”:
USCENTCOM Conducts Strike Killing Kata’ib Hezbollah Senior Leader
At 9:30 p.m. (Baghdad Time) February 7, 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… pic.twitter.com/Zhkjimx5UG
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) February 7, 2024
Kata’ib Hezbollah identified the targeted leader as Abu Baqr al-Saadi, according to the Iranian propaganda outlet PressTV – the man reportedly leading the terrorist militia’s drone operations. One other man killed in the strike was later identified as Arkan Alyawi. U.S. authorities said the strike was a response to Kata’ib Hezbollah and similar Iran-backed groups in the region engaging in dozens of attacks on U.S. troops since October 7, when the genocidal jihadist group Hamas invaded Israel and massacred 1,200 people, in addition to engaging in acts of gang rape, infanticide, torture, and other atrocities.
One of those attacks, in late January, killed three American servicemembers. The “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” a name used by several jihadist groups in the region, including Kata’ib Hezbollah, took responsibility for the killings.
Kata’ib Hezbollah, or the Hezbollah Brigades, is a Shiite, U.S.-designated terrorist organization with close ties to Iran. It is part of the “Popular Mobilization Forces” (PMF), a coalition of similar militias that the government of Iraq formally integrated into its armed forces during the fight to liberate Iraq and Syria from the Sunni Islamic State “caliphate.” Kata’ib Hezbollah and similar groups claim credit for eradicating the Islamic State, though most of the effort was undertaken by Kurdish Peshmerga and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) troops with the aid of American allies.
Following the collapse of the Islamic State “caliphate,” the PMF began targeting Kurdish and American forces. In response, under former President Donald Trump, U.S. forces eliminated the founder and leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in a drone strike in Iraq in January 2020. That strike also killed the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, Tehran’s top terror mastermind. The strikes largely neutralized the Kata’ib Hezbollah threat, though the terrorists have regrouped under current President Joe Biden.
In late January, Kata’ib Hezbollah issued a statement promising that its terrorists would execute “painful attacks on US occupation forces until they are driven out of Iraq and the region.” Days later, it issued a bizarre missive claiming that it would stop “embarrassing” the government of Iraq by targeting Americans.
Kata’ib Hezbollah confirmed the loss of several of its top terrorists on Thursday in a statement in which it “extended congratulations” to the families of those killed for their “martyrdom.”
Secretary-General of Kata’ib Hezbollah Abu Hussein al-Hamidawi declared that the drone strike “calls us to remain steadfast in the jihadist approach.”
The government of Iraq responded to the American strike with outrage, as the PMF and its terrorist members are formally the Iraqi military.
“Any kind of military attack on the Iraqi territory is unacceptable,” Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani proclaimed, with an outrage notably absent when Iranian forces conduct operations in Iraq. Sudani, for example, had no meaningful response to the IRGC bombing Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and killing a baby ten days shy of her first birthday in mid-January. The IRGC claimed that it had bombed a “Mossad base;” in reality, it destroyed the home of a local businessman, killing him and his daughter and injuring several other family members.
Yahya Rasool, an Iraqi military spokesman, demanded America withdraw from Iraq completely.
“The international coalition is completely overstepping the reasons and objectives for which it is present on our territory,” he said in a statement following Wednesday’s strike. “This path pushes the Iraqi government more than ever before to end the coalition’s mission which has become a factor of instability for Iraq.”