Officials in the area said that the drone hit a car in the Iraqi capital Wednesday night, which was being used by three members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, an influential group. One of the men in the car was a high-ranking commander, according to the Associated Press.
The incident was a targeted US attack, two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the outlet, confirming that one of the three men killed was the commander in charge of the group’s operations in Syria, Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al-Saadi.
The attack happened in the Mashtal neighbourhood in the eastern part of the city. According to the outlet, a crowd formed in the area as emergency officials tried to aid those affected. As a precaution, officials shut off the city’s Green Zone, which is home to diplomatic compounds. Protestors had been calling on eachother to storm the US embassy.
Conflict in the area had been heightened.
Earlier this week, the US military launched an air assault against dozens of Iraq and Syria sites which are used for Iranian-backed militia operations and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the AP said.
The attack was initiated in response to another drone strike that killed three US troops in Jordan last month.
US officials have previously blamed that attack on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which consists of a broad coalition of Iraq-backed militias. They also said they suspect Kataib Hezbollah may have played a part in the assault.
Kataib Hezbollah previously said it was suspending attacks on US troops so that it would not embarass “the Iraqi government” following the Jordan strike. Still, other groups expressed that they would continue fighting.
Iraq’s Islamic Resistance has previously claimed several attacks on bases housing US troops in Syria and Iraq as the Israel-Hamas war continues. So far, 27,707 people have been killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Additionally, a couple other attacks occurred this week. On Sunday, the Islamic Resistance said it attacked a base housing US troops and killed six fighters within the Syrian Democratic Forces.
On Wednesday, tensions were raised again after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamic Netanyahu said he would continue the war until “absolute victory” after he rejected Hamas-proposed terms for a hostage release agreement that could potentially initiate a cease-fire, the AP reported.