U.S. kills senior leader of Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah in strike in Iraq

The U.S. killed a senior leader of the Iran-backed group Kataib Hezbollah in a strike in Iraq Wednesday, a senior official confirmed to CBS News. The individual targeted was a commander who was in charge of operations in Syria.

U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East, said in a statement that the targeted commander was “responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region.” CENTCOM also said that there was no indication that there had been civilian casualties or collateral damage as a result of the strike. 

Kataib Hezbollah is one of the Iran-backed groups the U.S. holds responsible for a series of attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, as well as for the deadly drone strike in Jordan that killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded dozens more. 

Officials told CBS News the strike in Iraq was part of the response President Biden had promised in the aftermath of the drone strike in Jordan. 

The retaliation for that attack began last Friday when the U.S. hit more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria that included command and control operation centers, missiles, and rockets used by the militia groups and their Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sponsors, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. 

Iranian-backed militia groups have launched at least 168 attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan since Oct. 17. Those attacks, according to data provided by the Pentagon, have killed 3 U.S. service members, very seriously injured two, seriously injured nine, and 132 others have suffered non-serious injuries.   

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