Iraq’s judiciary said an arrest warrant was issued on Thursday for outgoing US President Donald Trump connected with the assassination of Lt Gen Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of Iraqi PMU last year in a US drone attack.
A judge issued the warrant in Baghdad’s investigative court tasked with probing the Washington-directed drone strike that martyred Lt Gen Soleimani, late commander of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU), the court’s media office said, Iran Press reported.
They were martyred outside the capital’s airport with their companions in a terrorist attack by US drone attack in January last year.
The arrest warrant was for a charge of premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty on conviction. According to the Associated Press report, it is unlikely to be carried out but symbolic in the waning days of Trump’s presidency.
The decision to issue the warrant “was made after the judge recorded the claimants’ statements from the family of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis,” according to a statement from the Supreme Judicial Council. The investigation into the assassination is ongoing, the court said.
The assassination sparked a diplomatic crisis and strained US-Iraq ties, drawing the ire of Shiite political lawmakers who passed a non-binding resolution to pressure the government to oust foreign troops from the country.
Iraqi people, officials, and political groups have since stepped up attacks against the American presence in Iraq, leading to threats by Washington to shutter its Baghdad diplomatic mission.