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Iran-linked militia group claims responsibility for killing of US aid worker in Iraq

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An Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group is being linked to the murder of a US citizen shot dead in Baghdad on Monday. The victim has been identified as Stephen Troell, a 45-year-old Tennessee native.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani condemned the attack and issued a warning to those who may be planning to carry out acts of violence in the country: “This was a cowardly crime against a citizen American and resident of our country who is known in the community… This is a red line for us. Those who want to test our government in terms of security will fail.” Al-Sudani has been in office since October 28.

US AID WORKER SHOT AND KILLED IN BAGHDAD, IRAQ

An Iranian-backed armed militia group, Saraya Ahl al’Khaf, reportedly claimed responsibility for the assassination in a statement, calling it “revenge for the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis”.

Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. An American aid worker in the city was shot dead Monday in a rare killing of a foreigner in the Iraqi capital in recent years, two police officials said. .
(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Soleimani, the former leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was killed in a drone strike authorized by President Trump in Baghdad in July 2020. Although he received less attention, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack. attack. As deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, Al-Muhandis was considered one of the most important military commanders in Iraq.

Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says Iran should be held accountable for the attack on an American abroad. “The militia that carried out this attack is undoubtedly a cut-out of one of the larger Iranian-backed Shia militias, such as Asib al-Haq or the Hezbollah Brigades.” He said: “This follows a pattern of previous attacks, where previously unknown groups claim attacks on American interests, and everyone wonders who this group is. This is done to provide larger militias with plausible deniability to discourage retaliatory attacks.” “.

Stephen Troell, who worked for an aid group helping Iraqis, was found murdered Monday night.

Stephen Troell, who worked for an aid group helping Iraqis, was found murdered Monday night.
(Twitter/@StephenTroell)

Roggio warned that Troell’s killing will galvanize supporters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a US-sanctioned terror group. “The murder of an American citizen to avenge these deaths demonstrates to your supporters and those you seek to intimidate that you have a long memory and that you have the means to execute. The militias and the IRGC will not stop there, they will continue. to try to target more Americans.

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Alina Romanowski, the US ambassador to Iraq, extended her condolences to the family. in a sentence Tuesday on Twitter: “It is with great sadness that I thank the Iraqi people for their messages of support following the brutal murder of Stephen Troell last night in Baghdad. He was here in a private capacity doing what he loved: working with the Iraqi people. My deepest condolences to his wife and young children.

Troell’s family released a statement Monday. “Stephen Troell met his Savior face to face. Jocelyn, the girls and little Stephen are currently safe and will return to the US in the next few days. As you can imagine, these are difficult days for the Troell family and Britt Please give us time to grieve together as a family. We are grateful for all who have reached out to us. Your prayers, love and kind words have sustained us as God walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.”

The family statement concluded: “Esteban often quoted the words of two young Moravians who gave their lives for the cause. We echo them again: ‘May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering…the weeping lasts one night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).”

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Stephen Troell in Baghdad, Iraq.

Stephen Troell in Baghdad, Iraq.
(Twitter/@StephenTroell)

Troell worked for Millennium Relief and Development Services, an organization affiliated with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which issued a statement on Wednesday: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took the life of our colleague, the American citizen Stephen Troell, near his home in Baghdad, Iraq… Mr. Troell had been working for a local English learning institute, Global English Institute-Baghdad… He will be remembered as a source of great encouragement and all He will be missed by those who knew him and missed him. Touched by his life.”

Ali Kamal of Fox News contributed to this article from Baghdad.

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