By Celetine Ajayi
An Iraqi court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against U.S. President Donald Trump in connection with the murder of a top Iranian general and the leader of an Iraqi Shiite militia a year ago.
A judge at an investigative court in Baghdad issued the warrant under Iraq’s penal code, the Supreme Judiciary Council, Iraq’s highest judicial authority, said in a statement.
“Investigation procedures will continue to identify other accomplices in this crime whether they are Iraqis or foreigners,” the statement said.
A U.S. rocket attack near Baghdad airport on Jan. 3, 2020, killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi militia.
The twin assassinations had stoked fears of a new war in the Middle East between the U.S. and Iran.
Soleimani was considered one of Iran’s most influential military leaders, wielding influence in Iraq, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East where Iran has a foothold.
In the wake of his assassination, the Iraqi parliament voted to end the presence of foreign troops linked to the U.S.-led alliance fighting Islamic State militants.
In recent months, the heavily-fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, home to the U.S. embassy and American troops in Iraq have been the target of several attacks blamed on pro-Iranian groups.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated since Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reinstated U.S. sanctions.
The Iraqi move comes two days after Iran applied to Interpol for an international arrest warrant for Trump in connection with Soleimani’s death.