Wednesday, January 19

Iraq: US military thwart drone attack

Photo obtained from the anti-jihadist coalition in Iraq showing a security officer standing in front of the remains of two drone bombs shot down by the US military at Baghdad airport on January 3.

The US military on Monday shot down two drone bombs targeting the anti-jihadist coalition at Baghdad airport, an attack thwarted on the 2nd anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant.

On January 3, 2020 and on the orders of then-US President Donald Trump, an armed drone sprayed the vehicle where Qassem Soleimani, architect of Iran’s Middle East strategy, was on the road to Baghdad International Airport . With him was Abu Mehdi al-Mouhandis, number 2 of Hachd al-Chaabi, a coalition of pro-Iranian armed factions now integrated into the Iraqi regular forces.

Monday’s attack, which took place around 4:30 am (01:30 GMT), was not immediately claimed.

“Two armed drones have targeted Baghdad airport,” an official of the international coalition led by the United States told AFP. The drones were aimed at the “Diplomatic Support Center” but “C-RAM defense batteries intercepted them and they were shot down,” he said.

This center, attached to the United States Embassy, ​​houses “a very small number of coalition troops who do not have a combat role” and are “in charge of logistics”, “service providers and personnel. civilian, “said the official on condition of anonymity.

– “Revenge operations” –

Photos obtained by AFP from the same source show what remains of one of the projectiles. “Commanders’ revenge operations,” reads a piece of black metal, presumably in reference to Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant.

“The Iraqis have opened an investigation,” the official said. “There is no damage, but it is a civilian airport, it is very dangerous to launch this type of attack.”

Dozens of rocket attacks or trapped drone attacks have targeted American troops and interests in Iraq in recent months. Never claimed, these attacks are systematically blamed by the United States on Iraqi pro-Iran factions.

However, in recent weeks these attacks had declined sharply.

Enemy countries, Iran and the United States are two active powers in Iraq.

The pro-Iran factions have constantly demanded the total withdrawal of American troops stationed in Iraq as part of an international coalition made up of troops from several countries, especially Western countries, who helped the Iraqi forces to defeat the ultra-radical jihadist group Islamic State (IS).

This call was reiterated once again on Saturday by the leaders of Hachd al-Chaabi, in front of the thousands of demonstrators gathered in Baghdad to mark the anniversary of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

– “All over” –

“You should have understood the messages sent to you by the heroes of the resistance in Iraq: with their weapons, their drones, their intelligent missiles, they reached you everywhere on Iraqi soil”, blasted Qais on Saturday. al-Khazali, leader of one of the main Hashd factions, Assaïb Ahl al-Haq, addressing the Americans.

“You should have understood that you cannot continue to occupy this country,” he said.

On December 9, Iraq announced the “end of the combat mission” of the coalition, which to this day retains its troops on Iraqi soil to continue a training and advisory role.

In fact, some 2,500 American soldiers and 1,000 soldiers from coalition member countries are now stationed on three bases held by Iraqi forces.

These foreign troops had already played the role of advisers and trainers for over a year.

On Monday in Najaf, the holy city of Shiism in southern Iraq, hundreds of people participated in a symbolic funeral, walking to the tomb of Abu Mehdi al-Mouhandis, the day after a candlelight vigil in Baghdad airport.

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