Iran-backed militant targeted by shooting near Baghdad - report

An investigation into the attack has been opened by security forces.

A member of Hashd al-Shaabi waves a flag of Kataib Hezbollah militia group during a protest to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (photo credit: REUTERS)
A member of Hashd al-Shaabi waves a flag of Kataib Hezbollah militia group during a protest to condemn air strikes on bases belonging to Hashd al-Shaabi (paramilitary forces), outside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A member of the Kata'ib Hezbollah militia, part of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, was targeted by a shooting attack at his home near Baghdad on Thursday, in which five members of his family were killed, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

An investigation into the attack has been opened by security forces. The PMF militant was identified as Ahmad al-Muttalib. A security official had told Rudaw news earlier that the militant was shot and injured in the attack and that his wife and three of his children were killed.

It is unclear who conducted the shooting attack against the militant and his family. No group had taken responsibility as of Thursday night and no suspects had been arrested.

The incident comes amid an uptick in rocket attacks against bases housing the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria. At least some of the rocket attacks have been blamed on Iran-backed militias.

On Wednesday night, an unidentified UAV was intercepted by air defenses near the Ain al-Assad base where members of the US-led coalition are housed.

 Rocket fired by Iran-backed groups towards base hosting US forces in northeastern Syria, January 5, 2022 (credit: Courtesy/Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve) Rocket fired by Iran-backed groups towards base hosting US forces in northeastern Syria, January 5, 2022 (credit: Courtesy/Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve)

Earlier on Wednesday evening, five rockets were launched towards Ain al-Assad. The rockets fell short of the base, according to the coalition.

On Wednesday afternoon, the US-led coalition operating in Syria and Iraq accused "Iran-supported malign actors" of firing eight rockets towards a coalition base in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria earlier in the day.

Later in the night, rockets were fired towards a base near the Conoco oil field in eastern Syria, with coalition airstrikes reported against Iran-backed militias in Deir Ezzor, according to Arabic-language reports. Casualties were reported among the militias.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stated that the US continues "to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militia groups that are backed by Iran."

"We have consistently been concerned about the threats to our forces in Iraq by militias backed by Iran. That is not a new concern. And I think we've seen in just the last few days that there have been acts perpetrated by some of these groups that validate the consistent concern that we've had over safety and security of our people," said Kirby.