Killing of US aid worker was 'preplanned', Iraqi security sources say
The killing of US national Stephen Edward Troell in Baghdad on Monday was "pre-planned", three Iraqi security sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The sources said the killers were intending to abduct him but killed him later on after he exchanged gunfire with them.
Troell, a 45-year-old native of Tennessee, was working as an English teacher with an organization affiliated to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The US national was in possession of a licenced gun for self-defence, according to the sources.
He was killed by unknown assailants in his car as he pulled up to the street where he lived with his family in Baghdad's central Karrada district.
It was a rare killing of a foreigner in Iraq, where security conditions have improved in recent years, even opening the door for tourism.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani ordered an investigation soon after Troell was killed
Al-Sudani described the killing as "a cowardly crime" at a weekly press conference and said security forces are continuing to investigate. He added that they will "respond with an iron fist" against all those who "destabilize the country".
رئيس مجلس الوزراء @mohamedshia : نتابع حادث مقتل المواطن الأمريكي والتعدي على المواطنين الأجانب المقيمين لا يمكن التساهل معه. pic.twitter.com/xyg1oQZ535— المكتب الإعلامي لرئيس الوزراء 🇮🇶 (@IraqiPMO) November 8, 2022
The US Embassy in Baghdad said on Tuesday it was closely monitoring an investigation begun by Iraqi authorities.
"A group of nearly 10 people driving cars and motorbikes without plates killed Troell in a street that is supposed to be very secure where checkpoints and CCTV cameras are present because it includes offices of Iraqi politicians. The investigations so far did not lead to the arrest of anyone," one of the security sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Horrible targeted killing of US aid worker while driving in his neighborhood in Baghdad with wife & child in car. I am so sorry for his family & friends. Simply heartbreaking. Afraid of what this could mean for #Iraq & so many lovely people who live there.https://t.co/wNcjyNf2tu— Nadine Maenza (@nadinemaenza) November 8, 2022
The Saudi funded TV station Al-Arabiya reported on 8 November that Ashab Al-Kahf, a new pro-Iranian group claimed responsibility for the killing of Troell. The group said it was in "retaliation for the killing of General Qasem Soleimani… and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis".
Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) umbrella group were killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on 3 January 2020.