Iraqi militia commander vows to avenge deaths in US strike

BAGHDAD (AP) — The leader of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia has vowed to retaliate against America for the deaths of four of his men in a U.S. airstrike along the Iraq-Syria border last month. He says it will be a military operation everyone will talk about. Abu Alaa al-Walae, commander of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press in Baghdad that the electoral victory of Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as president will strengthen Iran-backed militant groups throughout the Mideast for the next four years. Al-Walae rarely gives interviews to foreign media organizations. He spoke in an office in a Baghdad neighborhood along the Tigris River.