US Killed Militia Leader in Baghdad Using 'Flying Ginsu'

Military says Kataib Hezbollah commander was responsible for attacks on US forces
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2024 4:47 PM CST
Updated Feb 14, 2024 10:35 AM CST
Militia Commander Killed in Baghdad Drone Strike
Iraqi federal police gather at the site of a burned vehicle targeted by a US drone strike in east Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
UPDATE Feb 14, 2024 10:35 AM CST

When the US military killed a Kataib Hezbollah commander in downtown Baghdad last week, it did so with a weapon dubbed "the flying Ginsu," reports the Wall Street Journal, citing defense officials. It has details on the use of what's officially called the R9X: It's a modified Hellfire missile that trades the explosive warhead for a ring of six long blades designed "to shred its target." The precision of the method minimizes the possibility of civilian casualties. Indeed, some officials tell the Journal it's believed Abo Baqir Al-Saadi was in a heavily populated part of the capital because he thought the civilians provided a layer of protection. The Pentagon and CIA jointly designed the weapon, which Scripps News reports was employed as far back as 2017 in Syria, though its use is thought to be infrequent.

Feb 7, 2024 4:47 PM CST

The US military says it killed a key Iran-backed militia commander in a drone strike in Baghdad on Wednesday in response to attacks on US forces, including one that killed three troops in Jordan last month. The Kataib Hezbollah commander was "responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on US forces in the region," US Central Command said in a post on X. The group confirmed the death of Abo Baqir Al-Saadi in messages on its Telegram channel, NBC News reports.

Officials say two other militia members were killed in the strike, which hit a vehicle on a main thoroughfare in eastern Baghdad, the AP reports. Kataib Hezbollah, part of a coalition of Iran-backed groups called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, is believed to have played a leading role in the Jordan attack. The Baghdad strike follows retaliatory strikes on more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria last week.

story continues below

The Washington Post reports that the drone strike in the capital is "certain to cause an outcry in Iraq," where the government has complained about being caught between US forces and Iran-backed militias. The BBC reports that when its team tried to get near the burned-out vehicle, onlookers turned them back, saying foreign journalists were not welcome. There was a heavy police presence at the scene, where protesters were chanting, "America is the biggest devil," the BBC reports. (More Iraq stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.