Telegram Channel: CENTCOM Commander McKenzie On Hit List Of "Resistance Axis" In Retaliation For Soleimani Assassination

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January 3, 2022

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On January 3, 2022, a Telegram channel supporting the Iran-backed Shi'ite militias in Iraq posted reports, allegedly quoted from "agencies" affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which include threats to CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie . [1]

The reports featured pictures of two officers who died in the last few months – U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James C. Willis, and Israeli Colonel Sharon Asman – with the caption "mission complete," and a picture of Mckenzie with the caption "soon." According to the channel, Willis and Asman were killed in a June 27, 2021 rocket attack carried out by "jihad fighters" on a U.S. base in Irbil, "in retaliation for [the assassination of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem] Soleimani and [Popular Mobilization Units deputy commander Abu Mahdi] Al-Muhandis."    

It should be noted that Willis died on June 26, 2021 at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar in what the U.S. air force described as a noncombat incident,[2] and Asman collapsed  on July 1, 2021, during fitness training in a military base in central Israel.[3] But Iran sought to use their deaths to try to prove, mainly to its own public and supporters, that it is carrying out its threat to avenge the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis. Some two months after the deaths of the American and Israeli officers, the Iranian news agency Fars claimed that the "resistance axis" had killed them in a military operation in northern Iraq "in revenge for the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis," which meant that Iran had "changed its mode of action vis-à-vis Israel." The Fars report also claimed that Iran had killed three Mossad officers in a June 24, 2021 drone attack in Irbil. [4] The Telegram channel's report apparently echoes these Iranian claims.

This is not the first time that media outlets identified with the resistance axis have threatened Gen. McKenzie. As part of their promises to attack the U.S. forces if they stayed in Iraq after December 31, 2021, the Iran-backed militias circulated several posters threatening his life:

On November 30, 2021, a Telegram channel  circulated a poster showing Gen. McKenzie dressed as Santa Claus, with a burning Christmas tree in the background and the English caption: "Bring the red wine, we will roast General Mackenzie – 2021/12/31."[5]

 On November 25, 2021, Sabereen News released a poster showing U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Gen. McKenzie cowering in the face of an Iraqi rocket. [6]

 

 

[1] Telegram, January 3, 2021.

[2] Defensenews.com, June 27, 2021.

[3] Times of Israel (Israel), July 1, 2021.

[4] Farsnews.ir, September 22, 2021.

[5]  Telegram, November 30, 2021.

[6]  Telegram, November 25, 2021.

 

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