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U.S. Precision Drone Strike Targets Key Iraqi Militia Leader in Baghdad



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In a decisive move aimed at safeguarding American forces stationed in Iraq, the U.S. military has confirmed its responsibility for a precision drone strike in Baghdad, targeting a high-ranking Iraqi militia commander linked to attacks on U.S. forces.

According to reports, the strike, focused on the leader of Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi Shi’ite military group affiliated with the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The PMF, a coalition of militias nominally under the control of the Iraqi military, has been a source of regional tension amid escalating conflicts in the Middle East.

As a result of the targeted strike, Mushtaq Taleb al-Saidi, also known as “Abu Taqwa,” and deputy head of operations for PMF in Baghdad, was killed. The PMF, in a statement, denounced the strike as “brutal American aggression,” holding the International Coalition Forces responsible.

The U.S. official affirmed that the strike was a precise hit on a vehicle, dispelling reports suggesting an attack on an entire facility. The statement from the U.S. military emphasized the commitment to protect U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, addressing the threats they face.

This development comes amid rising regional tensions, exacerbated by the Israel-Hamas conflict, with fears that the turmoil could spill over into neighboring countries. It also aligns with Iraq’s renewed push for U.S.-led coalition forces to exit the country.

The precision drone strike follows a series of recent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, totaling at least 115 incidents since October 17. As the region remains on high alert, the Pentagon is closely monitoring the situation, with a particular focus on ensuring the safety of American personnel in the volatile Middle East.

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Secretary Blinken: ‘Israel accepted’ cease-fire deal, ‘Hamas did not’, proposed ‘numerous changes’



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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Hamas has proposed “numerous changes” to a cease-fire deal that had been on the table and even approved by the United Nations Security Council.

“Israel accepted the proposal as it was and as it is. Hamas didn’t,” said Blinken at a press conference in Doha. “In the days ahead, we are going to continue to push on an urgent basis with our partners, with Qatar, with Egypt, to try to close this deal.”

Voice of America writes the Gulf state of Qatar, along with Egypt, has been mediating between Israel and Hamas over the proposed multi-stage cease-fire in Gaza. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters that Qatar, the United States and their partners are “committed to bridge the gap, to find a way to end the war as soon as possible.”

According to a senior State Department official, the United States has been studying a response by Hamas to the current American-backed Gaza cease-fire proposal.  Blinken, currently on a diplomatic tour of the region, was said to have been up late into the night with officials assessing the text, which was handed by Hamas to mediators Qatar and Egypt on Tuesday evening, according to VOA.

“The Hamas response reaffirmed the group’s stance any agreement must end the Zionist aggression on our people, get the Israeli forces out, reconstruct Gaza and achieve a serious prisoners swap deal,” a Hamas official said earlier this week.

The Qatari prime minister also emphasized the need for a permanent and sustainable solution that would allow a Palestinian state and Israel to exist side by side.

VOA reports:

There remain potential points of contention, including the Hamas demand that Israel withdraw its forces from Gaza, and Israel’s stated commitment to its goal of defeating Hamas and ensuring the militant group cannot launch any future attacks on Israel.

In its initial phase, the three-stage cease-fire proposal calls for a halt in fighting, the release of some hostages from Gaza, the release of some Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, a surge in humanitarian aid for Palestinians, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from populated areas of Gaza, and the return of Palestinian civilians to their homes and neighborhoods.

The second phase envisions a permanent cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of all other hostages in Gaza and a full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

The final phase includes a multi-year reconstruction plan for the Gaza Strip, much of which has been devastated by eight months of Israeli bombardment. It would also provide for the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza.


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