US secret operation in Yemen; Iraq purchases Russian S-300; Military operation against Daesh

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on January 11 in last twelve hours from

U.S. targeted Iranian official in Yemen in failed strike – sources

The United States carried out a secret operation in Yemen that targeted, but failed to kill, an Iranian military official last week, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.

The strike was carried out on the same day that the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The timing could suggest that the United States had sought to take out a broader swathe of the Iranian military leadership when it killed Soleimani, citing an imminent threat from him.

The Pentagon declined comment on the failed strike in Yemen, first reported by the Washington Post.

“The Department of Defense does not discuss alleged operations in the region,” Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said.

One of the U.S. officials named the Iranian who had been targeted as Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force, the unit in charge of foreign operations that had been headed by Soleimani.

Iraq in talks to purchase Russia missile defence systems

Iraq has revived talks with Russia to buy its S-300 surface-to-air missile defence systems, according to Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti which cited a senior Iraqi lawmaker.

The US air strikes on factions belonging to the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), known locally as Hashd Al-Shaabi, prompted the Iraqi government to “resume negotiations regarding the S-300 deal”, said Mohammad Ridha, chairman of the country’s Security Defence Committee, Sputnik reported yesterday.

The air strike on either side of the Syria-Iraqi border killed 25, nine of which are believed to be PMF fighters, with the remainder being Iraqi servicemen.

Igor Kurushchenko, a member of the General Council of the Russian Ministry of Defence, has previously suggested that Iraq could improve its air defence system with the help of the more advanced Russian S-400 missile system, arguing that it can ensure the country’s sovereignty and protection.

The American air strike was said to be in retaliation for the killing of an American “contractor” at an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk, although no evidence has been provided. The events led to anti-American demonstrations at the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Iraq carries out first military operation against Daesh without coalition support

The Iraqi army yesterday launched a military operation against Daesh cells in the Baghdad belt area without the participation of the US-led international coalition.

The Iraqi government’s Security Media Cell announced the operation – dubbed “Promised Peace” – in a statement, adding it was bring run under the supervision of the Baghdad Operations Command.

According to the statement, the operation includes two army brigades, two police regiments as well as military engineering units, and runs with the support of the Iraqi army’s aircrafts.

The statement said the ongoing operation has so far resulted in seizing rockets, explosive devices and equipment belonging to Daesh militants.

The US-led international coalition against Daesh announced on Twitter earlier this week the suspension of its military activities in Iraq under the pretext of shifting focus on protecting Iraqi bases hosting its personnel.

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Source: Reuters, MEMO