A senior leader of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia was killed in a U.S. drone strike that hit a vehicle in Baghdad late Wednesday, U.S. authorities said.
The U.S. Department of Defense said the targeted commander was “responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region.” It did not identify the leader, but multiple outlets, citing sources, said he was Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al-Saadi who was in charge of Kataib Hezbollah’s operations in Syria.
The commander is believed to be among three people killed in the U.S. drone strike, the Associated Press reported.
U.S officials told CBS News that the strike was part of President Joe Biden’s promised retaliation efforts in response to a drone strike in Jordan on Jan. 28 that killed three U.S. soldiers. The U.S. has blamed the attack on an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, including Kataib Hezbollah.
“This certainly has the earmarks of the kinds of things that Kataib Hezbollah does,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last week.
Kirby said that President Biden was weighing retaliatory options, but that any action from the U.S. would not be a “one-off”.
The U.S. began its response to the January attack last weekend when it struck “Iran-backed Iraqi groups in Iraq and Syria,” Al Jazeera reported.