At least five people died Saturday in northern Baghdad, Iraq, in a new United States air strike targeting two vehicles from members of Hachad al-Chaabi, the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia.
According to the Iraqi state television station, quoted by France-Presse, the main target of the US attack was a commander of Hachad al-Chaabi, but the television chain does not specify the identity of that target. The five dead were confirmed to the Associated Press (AP) by Iraqi officials.
This is the second US attack in less than 24 hours after US President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike in Baghdad, which killed Qassem Soleimani. , commander of the elite force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guardians, Al-Qods, along with number two from the coalition of pro-Iranian paramilitary groups in Iraq Hachd al-Chaab, Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, and six others.
On Friday, the US head of state said Soleimani was killed to "stop a war" rather than "start a war," adding that the United States is "ready and prepared" to respond to Tehran's retaliation. Washington has also announced that it will send 3,000 more troops to the Middle East after the death of the general.
Defense Department sources, cited by the AP on condition of anonymity, said the troops belong to the 82nd Parachute Division of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Those numbers add up to about 700 82nd Division troops who were sent to Kuwait earlier this week following the invasion of the US embassy complex in Baghdad by Iranian-backed militiamen.
The attack has already sparked a number of reactions, with four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China) alerted to the inevitable escalation of tensions in the region and urging the parties to reduce the tension.
In Iran, the feeling is revenge, with the President and the Revolutionary Guards ensuring that the country and "other free nations in the region" will take revenge on the United States. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also vowed to avenge the general's death and declared three days of national mourning, while the head of diplomacy called the death "an act of international terrorism."
On the Iraqi side, resigning Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi warned that this assassination would "trigger a devastating war in Iraq" and the great Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the leading figure in Iraqi politics, considered the assassination of Iranian general.