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Senior US General Blames Iraqi Shi’ite Militia for Fatal Rocket Attack
Kenneth McKenzie, at the time a three-star general, is shown testifying at the US Senate in December 2018. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior US General Blames Iraqi Shi’ite Militia for Fatal Rocket Attack

Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who leads the US military’s Central Command, told senators on Thursday he believed a Shi’ite militia aligned with Iran was behind Wednesday’s rocket attack that killed two soldiers and a civilian contractor in Iraq. He was not specific, saying only: “I will note that the Iranian proxy group Kataib Hizbullah is the only group known to have previously conducted an indirect fire attack of this scale against US and coalition forces in Iraq.” Two of Wednesday’s dead – a soldier and the contractor – were Americans. The other soldier killed was British. They were at a base north of Baghdad. Iraq, like most of the Middle East, falls under the purview of the Central Command. Kataib Hizbullah is one of several Iraqi militias supported by Iran and collectively known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Its previous leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, died on January 3 in an American drone strike that also killed Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general and commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

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