UPDATE 2: The US-led coalition officially claimed that it had not conducted strikes near Camp Taji.
FACT: The Coalition @CJTFOIR did NOT conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji (north of Baghdad) in recent days.
— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) January 4, 2020
Shubul al-Zaidi, commander of the PMU’s Imam Ali Battalions denied reports about his death. The PMU released an official statement saying that no PMU convoy was targeted. The situation remains unclear.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الى كافة الاخوة والاخوات الكرام نشر قبل قليل خبر
استشهاد #الحاج_شبل_الزيدي هذا الخبر غير صحيح والحمد لله رب العالمين
— الحاج شبل الزيدي (@alzaidysh) January 3, 2020
Update: Pentagon officials told Newsweek the operation was targeting Imam Ali Brigades with a “high probability” the strike resulted in the death of its leader, Shubul al-Zaidi.
Several airstrikes targeted early on January 4 three vehicles of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) near al-Taji camp north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
A source in the Iraqi military told the Reuters News Agency that two of the three vehicles were found burned. Six burned corpses were also found in the airstrikes’ site.
Initial reports claimed that the airstrikes killed senior commanders of the PMU, including Shubul al-Zaidi, Hamid al-Jazrawi and Ra’d al-Kwrawi.
These claims were denied by the PMU, which revealed in an official statement that the airstrikes targeted one of its medical units. The Iraqi Shi’ite coalition didn’t provide any additional details.
According to several Iraqi sources, the airstrikes were carried out by U.S. warplanes. This is yet to be confirmed.
A day earlier, similar airstrikes claimed the lives of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Deputy Commander of the PMU, and Iranian Quds Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani. The U.S. claimed responsibility for the attack.