"Precision Strike in Iraq: U.S. Forces Eliminate Harakat al-Nujaba Terrorist Leader in Self-Defense Operation"

"Precision Strike in Iraq: U.S. Forces Eliminate Harakat al-Nujaba Terrorist Leader in Self-Defense Operation"

Pentagon Press Secretary U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder conducts a press briefing at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2023. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cesar J. Navarro)

In a recent development in Iraq, U.S. forces conducted a self-defense strike, resulting in the death of Mushtaq Jawad Kazim al-Jawari, a key figure in the Harakat al-Nujaba terrorist group. This organization, backed by Iran, operates in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon Press Secretary disclosed this significant event, emphasizing the targeted nature of the operation.

Mushtaq Jawad Kazim al-Jawari, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Taqwa, was actively engaged in planning and executing attacks against American personnel in the region. The strike, which occurred around noon on January 4th in Iraq, also resulted in the death of another member of Harakat al-Nujaba. Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, in a briefing, clarified the precision of the strike. He underscored that it was a self-defense measure, ensuring no civilian casualties or damage to infrastructure.

The U.S. maintains a military presence in Iraq under the auspices of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR). The primary mission of CJTF-OIR is to support local forces in Iraq and Syria in their efforts to defeat ISIS. This collaboration involves advising, assisting, and enabling partnered forces within designated areas of Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, the U.S. works in conjunction with the Iraqi Security Forces and the Kurdish Security Forces.

Maj. Gen. Ryder reiterated the U.S. forces' presence in Iraq is at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The singular focus of these forces is to support the defeat-ISIS mission. He highlighted the commitment of the U.S. to closely work with Iraqi partners for the safety and security of U.S. forces. He stressed the U.S. forces' inherent right of self-defense to protect themselves when threatened.

The mission to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been a prolonged endeavor, spanning nearly a decade. Maj. Gen. Ryder reflected on the journey and achievements of CJTF-OIR, emphasizing the importance of maintaining these successes. He recalled the critical juncture ten years ago when ISIS was a mere 24 kilometers from Baghdad, having taken over large areas of Syria and Iraq. The counter-ISIS mission commenced in response to this rapid expansion of ISIS. Maj. Gen. Ryder emphasized the determination to prevent the resurgence of ISIS and the ongoing focus on the defeat-ISIS mission. However, he made it clear that the U.S. would not hesitate to defend its forces if they face threats.

This operation highlights the continued U.S. involvement in the region, underlining the complexities of the geopolitical landscape in Iraq and Syria. The strike against a high-profile target like Abu Taqwa marks a significant moment in the ongoing efforts to counter terrorist threats and maintain regional stability. It also underscores the delicate balance the U.S. maintains in executing its military operations, emphasizing precision and the avoidance of civilian harm, while pursuing its strategic objectives.

As the situation in Iraq and Syria continues to evolve, the role of the U.S. and its allies remains crucial in navigating the challenges posed by terrorist organizations like ISIS and Harakat al-Nujaba. The recent strike is a testament to the U.S.'s commitment to its self-defense and the broader objective of supporting regional stability and security.

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