Less than 24 hours after a US airstrike at Baghdad International Airport killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, airstrikes targeting Hashed al-Shaabi were carried out in northern Iraq. Six people died and three were critically wounded following the strike on a Hashed al-Shaabi medical convoy. The US airstrike on Friday had also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a leader of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Force, along with Soleimani, the leader of Iran's Quds Force.
Details about Taji airstrikes
The strikes were carried out at 1:12 a.m. [Local Time], early on Saturday, at Iraqi city of Taji, located north of capital Baghdad, Iraqi army told Reuters. The attack was targeted at Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces - an umbrella grouping of Iran-backed Shi'ite militias, whose one of the leaders Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed in the Baghdad International Airport strike, along with Qassem Soleimani.
The attack struck militia's convoy, leaving two out of three cars burned, and six charred corpses were found at the site. Iran backed Hashed al-Shaabi confirmed the strike, saying that it hit one of its medical convoys. None of its top leaders were killed, the group added. Meanwhile, United States has denied that the attack was carried out by American forces.
Yet another attack on Iranian interest in the middle-east came less than a day after one of its top commanders was slain in the US attack. According to United States, the Baghdad Airport strike, which is seen as a major escalation, was carried out to protect American lives and American interests in the middle-east. In a press briefing on Friday, US President said that the attacks were carried out "to stop a war and not to start a war".
Meanwhile, Iran vowed to take revenge for Soleimani's assassination, at a time when United States flew thousands of its troops to the middle-east, that is expected to witness heightened tensions, in the coming days. Also, United States has directed all American citizens to leave Iraq "immediately", anticipating Iranian retaliation.