Iraqi TV reports strike kills powerful commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

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BAGHDAD – Iraqi state television reported Friday that the powerful commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Qassim Suleimani, was killed in an attack at Baghdad International Airport early Friday.

Iranian and American officials have not confirmed the death of General Suleimani.

The attack killed five people, including the pro-Iranian chief of an umbrella group for Iraqi militias, Iraqi television reported and militia authorities confirmed. The head of the militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was a strongly pro-Iranian figure.

The public relations chief of the umbrella group, the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, Mohammed Ridha Jabri, was also killed.

Two other people died in the attack, according to a Baghdad joint command officer.

The attack appears to have been an air strike that hit two vehicles, the officer said.

The strike was the second attack at the airport in a matter of hours. An earlier attack, Thursday night, involved three rockets that do not appear to have caused any injuries.

The attack came at a time of high tension between the United States and Iran.

The United States said an Iran-backed militia fired 31 rockets at a base in Kirkuk province last week, killing an American contractor and injuring several US and Iraqi military personnel.

The Americans responded by bombing three sites of the Khataib Hezbollah militia near Qaim in western Iraq and two sites in Syria. Khataib Hezbollah denied being involved in the attack in Kirkuk.

Members of the pro-Iranian militia marched to the US embassy Tuesday, effectively imprisoning their diplomats inside for more than 24 hours, while thousands of militia members crammed outside. They burned the embassy reception area, planted militia flags on their roof and scribbled graffiti on their walls.

They retired on Wednesday afternoon.

Falih Hassan reported from Baghdad and Alissa J. Rubin from Paris.