Four Iran-backed militia fighters killed in Baghdad drone strike –sources

Four Iran-backed militia fighters killed in Baghdad drone strike –sources

BAGHDAD (Reuters): At least four militia fighters were killed and six others wounded in a drone strike on an Iran-backed militia headquarters in eastern Baghdad on Thursday, police and security sources told Reuters.

Police sources and eyewitnesses said at least two rockets struck inside a building used by Iraqi militia group Al-Nujaba’a.

A spokesperson for the group said the death toll had risen to four after one fighter died of his wounds. Health sources confirmed the toll.

A local commander in Al-Nujaba’a and one of his aides were killed in the strike, said police and the group’s spokesperson.

The spokesperson and two Iraqi militia commanders accused the United States of carrying out the attack and threatened to retaliate.

“We will retaliate and make the Americans regret carrying out this aggression,” said Abu Aqeel Al-Moussawi, a local Iraqi militia commander.

There was no immediate comment from Washington.

Iraqi police and security sources said they had no further detail on who might have carried out the strike pending a government investigation.

Police and militia sources said rockets targeted a vehicle inside the Nujaba’a headquarters killing a local commander of the group and one of his aides. Two other members of the group were killed in the strike.

Video footage published by pro-militia websites showed a destroyed vehicle in flames and claimed it was targeted during the strike.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the footages.

Iraqi security forces were deployed in the area and a security team has reached the site for initial investigation, said two security sources.

Last month, the United States carried out retaliatory air strikes in Iraq after a drone attack by Iran-aligned militants that left one US service member in critical condition and wounded two others.

The US military has already come under attack at least 100 times in Iraq and Syria since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, usually with a mix of rockets and one-way attack drones.

The United States has 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq on a mission it says aims to advise and assist local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State, which in 2014 seized large swaths of both countries before being defeated.