Pentagon Says ‘Self-Defense Strike’ In Iraq Kills Terrorist Leader

U.S. forces in Iraq conducted a self-defense strike which killed Mushtaq Jawad Kazim al-Jawari, a leader of the Iran-backed Harakat al-Nujaba terrorist group that is operating both in Iraq and Syria, said the Pentagon press secretary.

Al-Jawari, also known as Abu Taqwa, was actively involved in planning and carrying out attacks against American personnel. Abu Taqwa, along with another member of Harakat al-Nujaba, were both killed in a strike that took place around noon, Jan. 4, in Iraq, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder during a briefing today.

“It is important to note that the strike was taken in self-defense, that no civilians were harmed, and that no infrastructure or facilities were struck,” Ryder said.

The U.S. currently has a military presence in Iraq as part of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. The CJTF-OIR mission is to advise, assist and enable partnered forces in the defeat of ISIS within designated areas of Iraq and Syria. Inside Iraq, the U.S. works in partnership with both the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish Security Forces to carry out that mission.

“U.S. forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the government of Iraq,” Ryder said. “They’re there for one reason, which is to support the defeat-ISIS mission. We’ll continue to work very closely with our Iraqi partners when it comes to the safety and security of our forces. When those forces are threatened, just like we would anywhere else in the world, we will maintain the inherent right of self-defense to protect our forces.”

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