The militia attack on Wednesday killed two Americans (a soldier and contractor) and a British national.
The Pentagon announced the U.S. launched missiles at an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq officials believe attacked and killed American troops just north of Baghdad.
Other reports speculate the attack killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) top commander General Siamand Mashhadani.
The Missile Strike
The attack on Wednesday killed two Americans (a soldier and contractor) and a British national after “more than 15 small rockets hit Iraq’s Camp Taji base.”
Iran-backed militants like Kataib Hezbollah and one other Shia militia group frequently target the U.S. troops in Iraq.
The Pentagon only spoke about the missile attack:
The Pentagon statement said the facilities hit in the precision strikes were used to store weapons used to target the U.S. and coalition forces. It called the counterattack “defensive, proportional and in direct response to the threat” posed by the Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups.
U.S. officials said the locations of the strikes were largely around the Baghdad region. One U.S. official said there were two strikes at Jurf al-Sakher, one in Karbala, one at Al-Musayib, and one at Arab Nawar Ahmad. The official said the U.S. expected casualties would be lower than 50, and said the main effort was to hit the weapons.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because some details about the operations had not yet been made public.
Reports from mainstream media outlets did not report any news from the Pentagon on the death of Mashhadani.
Hey guys, looks like we just killed another senior Iranian military commander. Sorry to interrupt. https://t.co/zOK9wyjbRl
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) March 13, 2020
I found an article from The Jerusalem Post on Mashhadani:
US airstrikes carried out in Iraq just after midnight on Friday may have killed an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps general supposedly named Siamand Mashhadani. Reports online in Arabic and in other local media have claimed he was killed in the attacks on five locations of pro-Iranian Kataib Hezbollah warehouses that the US carried out in retaliation to a rocket attack that killed three Coalition personnel on March 11.
According to Al-Ain media the Iranian officer was killed in the US airstrikes that took place. Reports of his death circulated around one in the morning in Iraq. He was an officer in the Quds Force of the IRGC, the same force once headed by Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed by the US on January 3 in a drone strike in Baghdad. An Iraqi official told Al-Ain media that Mashhadani was killed near the town of Jufr al-Sakhar, one of the sites of the airstrikes. The town is north of Karbala in Babil Governorate. Supposedly four other members of the Quds Force were also killed. They were in a command and control headquarters for Kataib Hezbollah when the airstrike hit.
The article said that “‘Siamand Mashhadani’ may be a nickname, code name or kind of Arabic kunya war name because it is not a common name.”
Siamand Mashhadani is strange for an IRGC officer because those “consulted for this article” said Arabic and Farsi media has never mentioned his name:
Siamand is a Kurdish first name, the same as Iranian Kurdish Paralympic powerlifter Siamand Rahman. Mashhadani indicates someone from “Mashhad,” a city known for Shi’ite pilgrimages. A few people in Fallujah in Iraq have the name Mashhadani, but these are generally Arabic Shi’ite families.
The Jerusalem Post mentioned that other reports described Mashhadani’s roles:
According to reports, Mashhadani supervised the command and control of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in Iraq. The PMU is a paramilitary group of militias that are part of the Iraqi Security Forces. Kataib Hezbollah has several brigades within the PMU. The US airstrikes targeted warehouses of those brigades. The US has struck the units before, in December after the same group fired rockets near Kirkuk that killed a US contractor. On March 11 the group fired more rockets at Camp Taji where US and Coalition forces are based. Mashhadani was influential in advising the PMU, as Soleimani once did. “He was one of the planners of attacks by the Hezbollah militias against the US military in Iraq,” an Iraqi force told Al-Ain.
Mashhadani has not been previously mentioned in Arabic or Farsi sources. According to current reports he played a role at a headquarters of the 46 and 47th brigades of the PMU. According to Al-Ain the US airstrikes hit a factory of manufacture of rockets used to target the US and also a center for manufacturing drones. These were located north of Karbala and other areas in southern Iraq.
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