Killing of US aid worker was 'preplanned', Iraqi security sources say

Killing of US aid worker was 'preplanned', Iraqi security sources say
3 min read
11 November, 2022
Sources say that the killing of an American aid worker in Baghdad this week was planned in advance, with an obscure pro-Iran group claiming responsibility
Mohammed Shia al-Sudani described the attack as a "cowardly crime" [Getty]

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". 

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

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".

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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.