Iraq’s judiciary issued an arrest warrant on Thursday for President Donald Trump, for ordering the Jan. 3, 2020 airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of an Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militia, in Baghdad, Iraq.
The Associated Press reported Iraq’s judiciary issued the warrant against Trump on a charge of premeditated murder — a charge which carries the death penalty. The AP reported the warrant is likely to be carried out but is a symbolic move.
Iran has also issued an arrest warrant for Trump and has requested Interpol’s help in arresting him, once in June and again this week.
In a statement to the AP, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said the decision to issue the warrant came after a judge recorded statements from Muhandis’ family. The investigation into the strike on Soleimani and Muhandis is ongoing.
At the time of the strike, the Pentagon linked Soleimani to threats of attacks on U.S. service members and diplomatic personnel in Iraq. The Pentagon also linked Soleimani to the proliferation of weapons throughout the Middle East they said are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. troops and coalition troops and the injury of thousands more.
Soleimani was traveling with Muhandis in a convoy leaving the Baghdad International Airport when they were killed. In the days leading up to the strike, the Pentagon linked Iran-backed Iraqi militias to a series of rocket attacks that killed one U.S. citizen and injured four U.S. service members. Supporters of the militia groups also stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, setting fires at the diplomatic compound and prompting U.S. forces to reinforce the embassy.
Following the strike on Soleimani, Iraq’s parliament voted on a resolution to expel foreign troops. U.S. troops have remained in Iraq despite the resolution, though Trump ordered the withdrawal of some 500 troops from Iraq in November, to be completed by Jan. 15. Around 2,500 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq after the troop reduction.
Iran also launched retaliatory strikes against bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq in the days after Soleimani’s death. The strikes caused no U.S. deaths but have resulted in subsequent cases of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) among service members in the proximity of the attack.
In March, a rocket attack believed to have been launched by Iran-backed militias killed two U.S. and one British service member. U.S. forces launched retaliatory strikes on Iraqi militias the following day.
Iran has also repeatedly called for revenge against Trump and the U.S. in recent weeks.