January 3, 2022
Two armed drones were shot down as they approached a military facility hosting American forces at Baghdad’s international airport, security sources said on January 3, amid heightened regional tensions on the second anniversary of the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone strike.
A counterrocket system at a compound used by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) extremist group “engaged [the two drones] and they were shot down without incident,” a coalition source told AFP.
Describing the unmanned aircraft as “suicide drones,” a coalition official told AP that the incident was “a dangerous attack on a civilian airport.”
There were no reports of damage or injuries from the incident, which was confirmed by Iraqi security officials. No one immediately claimed responsibility.
General Qassem Soleimani, who headed the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Hamid al-Muhandis, were killed on January 3, 2020 in a drone strike near Baghdad airport.
The air strike, ordered by then-President Donald Trump, came in response to a spate of attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.
Soleimani was considered a main architect of Iran’s Middle East military strategy, and his killing ratcheted up tensions between Iran and the United States.
Five days after Soleimani’s death, Iran fired missiles at an Iraqi air base hosting U.S. forces and another base near the Iraqi city of Irbil.