Armed drone is shot down by US-led coalition at Baghdad airport

Armed drone is shot down by US-led coalition at Baghdad airport 2
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Two armed ‘suicide drones’ with the words ‘Soleimani’s revenge’ are shot down by US-led coalition forces at Baghdad airport on the anniversary of 2020 US killing of the Iranian general

  • US forces shot down armed drones targeting a compound at Baghdad airport 
  • The ‘improvised cruise missiles’ were launched at 4.30am on Monday
  • Attack comes two years after slaying of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani
  • Drone had the message ‘commanders’ revenge operations’ written on its wing
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Two drones targeting US forces at Baghdad airport were shot down this morning as terrorists launched an attack on the anniversary of the killing of a revered Iranian commander.

‘Two fixed-wing suicide drones, or improvised cruise missiles, attempted to attack Baghdad Airport this morning at approximately 4.40am,’ a US-led coalition official said.

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A counter-rocket, artillery and mortar, or C-RAM, system ‘at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center engaged them and they were shot down without incident,’ the source added. 

The incident comes two years after General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant were blown up by a US reaper drone as their convoy drove out of Baghdad airport.

Donald Trump ordered the strike after intelligence revealed Soleimani was plotting attacks on US troops in Iraq.

Scrawled in Arabic across one of the wings of the drones shot down this morning was the message ‘Soleimani’s revenge.’  

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A soldier inspects the wreckage after the drone targeting US forces at Baghdad airport was shot down this morning

A soldier inspects the wreckage after the drone targeting US forces at Baghdad airport was shot down this morning

Scrawled in Arabic across one of the wings of the drones shot down this morning was the message 'Soleimani's revenge'

Scrawled in Arabic across one of the wings of the drones shot down this morning was the message ‘Soleimani’s revenge’ 

Mourners, including members of Iraq's al-Hashed al-Shaabi ex-paramilitary alliance, take part in a symbolic funeral procession towards the tomb of slain Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in the central holy shrine city of Najaf, on Monday

Mourners beside a photo of slain Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

Mourners, including members of Iraq’s al-Hashed al-Shaabi ex-paramilitary alliance, take part in a symbolic funeral procession towards the tomb of slain Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in the central holy shrine city of Najaf, on Monday, with photos of Al-Muhandis (right) and Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani (left) held aloft 

The BDSC compound houses ‘a very small number of coalition troops who are not in a combat role,’ the source said, describing them as logistical troops, contractors and civilian personnel.

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‘The Iraqis have opened an investigation,’ the coalition source said. 

‘There is no damage, but this is a civilian airport, it is very dangerous to launch this type of attack.’ 

The January 3, 2020 US strike killed Soleimani – who headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy leader of the Hashed al-Shaabi coalition of armed groups. 

The night-time strike ordered by Trump struck a convoy in which Soleimani and Muhandis were travelling on the edge of the airport.

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The Hashed – a coalition of former paramilitary groups now integrated into the Iraqi state security apparatus – held a candle-lit vigil Sunday at the airport for the two men killed.

The US said at the time that Soleimani was planning imminent action against US personnel in Iraq, a country long torn between the competing demands of its principal allies Washington and Tehran.

Five days after his killing, Iran fired missiles at an air base in Iraq housing US troops and another near Arbil in the country’s north.

The drone after being shot down following an attempted attack on a compound at Baghdad airport in the early hours of Monday

The drone after being shot down following an attempted attack on a compound at Baghdad airport in the early hours of Monday

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Since then dozens of rockets and roadside bombs have targeted US security, military and diplomatic sites across Iraq.

Western officials have blamed hard-line pro-Iran factions for the attacks, which have never been claimed.

The Hashed has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of US troops deployed in Iraq as part of the coalition.

The US-led coalition on December 9 declared it had finished its combat mission in Iraq and that its around 2,500 troops would shift to a purely training and advisory role.

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IS, which established a so-called caliphate across swathes of Syria and Iraq from 2014, was defeated in Iraq in 2017 by national forces and the coalition that has included more than 80 countries.

However, IS remnants still carry out attacks against security forces and civilians. 

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