Six people were reportedly killed and three wounded in air strikes targeting Iran-backed militia forces in Iraq on Friday, the day after Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. air strike near the Baghdad airport.
At the time of this writing, there are conflicting reports — citing anonymous U.S. officials — over whether the Pentagon ordered the second attack.
What are the details?
Reuters reported Friday that a source in the Iraqi army told the outlet that six burned corpses were found in the wreckage of a convoy north of Baghdad around 1:15 p.m. local time. The vehicles were reportedly carrying members of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias.
The Associated Press reported that an Iraqi government official confirmed the strike on two vehicles, but did not provide information on casualties.
According to the AP, "an American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity denied the U.S. was behind the reported attack."
Hours after the AP report was released, Newsweek reported that six Iraqi militia members were killed in a "second drone strike ordered by President Trump in Baghdad," and cited anonymous Pentagon officials who purportedly claimed the Friday attack was targeting pro-Iran militia leader Shubul al-Zaidi.
The Daily Mail reported that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Rich (R-Idaho) told Fox News he had been briefed on the second strike north of Baghdad, but declined to comment further until the Pentagon declassified the information.
More airstrikes in Iraq following Soleimani airstrike www.youtube.com
Soleimani was head of Iran's Qud's Force, which Fox News reported is "an external arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Guard Corps responsible for supporting terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East."
Following Soleimani's death, the U.S. said it was sending an additional 3,000 troops to the Middle East as Iran promised to retaliate for the killing of the general.