Two armed drones shot down in Baghdad

i24NEWS - AFP

2 min read
Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces stand guard outside the US Embassy on May 30, 2021 in Baghdad, Iraq.
JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFPIraqi Counter Terrorism Forces stand guard outside the US Embassy on May 30, 2021 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Attack comes on second anniversary of killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani

The US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq shot down two armed drones targeting its compound at Baghdad airport early Monday, a coalition source told AFP.

A counter-rocket system "engaged them and they were shot down without incident," said the source, two years after a US drone strike at the airport killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant.

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Former US president Donald Trump ordered the assassination of the then-commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), saying at the time that Soleimani was "the world's top terrorist."

Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and several others were also killed in the attack.

On Saturday, thousands of supporters of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi alliance of armed groups filled a Baghdad square to mark the second anniversary of Soleimani's death on January 3, 2020.

Middle East security analysts say that armed drones are becoming more of a threat in Iraq, exemplified by a drone attack in November on the residence of Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who was unhurt in the strike. 

The attack wounded at least three of the prime minister's security guards.

"Armed drones are an increasing and emerging threat, especially those being used by pro-Iranian groups," Seth Frantzman, author of a recently published book on armed drones, told Voice of America in November following the attack on Kadhimi's home.