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04 Jan 2020 | 01:15 AM UTC

Iraq: US forces deny conducting airstrike north of Baghdad January 4 /update 1

US spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve denies airstrike was carried out near Baghdad on January 4; situation remains tense

security
IRQ

Event

A spokesman for the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve coalition issued a statement on Saturday, January 4, denying reports that American forces conducted an airstrike north of Baghdad earlier in the day. Members of the Iranian supported Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militias issued contradicting statements claiming that an airstrike targeted a medical convoy near Camp Taji during the early morning hours (local time) on Saturday. The situation remains fluid and details are still emerging.

Context

Tensions significantly increased in Iraq on Friday, January 3, after the US claimed responsibility for killing Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran's Quds Force, near Baghdad International Airport (BGW) in an airstrike. According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike along with six other individuals.

Advice

Individuals in Baghdad, and Iraq more generally, are advised to closely monitor developments, avoid the affected area, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.