Tension high as US strike kills pro-Iran commander in Baghdad

An American air strike in the Iraqi capital killed a senior commander from a pro-Iran armed group who was involved in attacks on Washington's troops in the region, the U.S. military has said.

Washington launched a wave of strikes on Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria last week following the killing of three American troops in neighboring Jordan on Jan. 28, and the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the commander killed on Feb. 7 was targeted "in response to the attacks on U.S. service members."

The strike killed "a Kataeb Hezbollah commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region," according to CENTCOM, which said there are "no indications of collateral damage or civilian casualties at this time."

"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," it added.

Kataeb Hezbollah - which announced it was suspending violence against U.S. forces after the deadly Jordan attack — confirmed a commander who was responsible for the "military file" in Syria had been killed, identifying him as Abu Baqr al-Saadi.

The Hashed al-Shaabi, a coalition of mainly pro-Iran paramilitaries — of which Kataeb Hezbollah is part — now integrated into Iraq's regular security forces, also confirmed Saadi's death in a statement.

'Playing with fire' 

An AFP photographer said security forces deployed in the neighbourhood, barring access to it after the attack.

Later in the evening the remains of a car were removed from the area.

Reacting to the commander's death, Iraq's pro-Iran Al-Nujaba movement in a statement promised a "targeted retaliation",...

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