SACRAMENTO, Calif — The death of an Iraqi-American from Sacramento in an Iraq rocket attack last December was the start of a series of events that led President Donald Trump to sign off on drone strikes in Iraq and Syria that ultimately killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, U.S. leaders say.
Nawres Waleed Hamid was a contractor for the U.S. working at Iraq's K1 military base outside of the city of Kirkuk when missiles struck the compound housing both U.S. and coalition forces. Hamid was killed and several service members were wounded in the attack.
Valiant, the contracting company for which Hamid worked, announced his death in a statement Monday, offering condolences to his family.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Nawres Hamid," the company's statement said. "Mr. Hamid was a consummate professional and highly committed member of the Valiant team who was cherished and valued by his colleagues."
Hamid was buried at the Greater Sacramento Muslim Cemetery on Saturday, officials at the cemetery confirmed to ABC10.
California Rep. Doris Matsui said that Hamid was a linguist, though it's unclear what work Hamid did as a contractor for Valiant.
"Our U.S. military has relied on the expertise and professionalism of linguists in almost every mission around the globe, especially in Iraq," Matsui said. "Nawres served and sacrificed for our nation, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. My thoughts and prayers are with Nawres’ widow and children at this time."
Top U.S. leaders have cited the attack the killed Hamid as the reason for escalated tensions between America and Iran in recent months that led to the assassination of Soleimani.
Below is a brief timeline of events since Hamid's death:
- Dec. 27, 2019: Missiles struck an Iraqi compound housing both U.S. and coalition forces. Hamid was killed and several service members were wounded in the attack. The U.S. blamed the militia group Kataeb Hezbollah, which has reportedly has connections to Iran, according to multiple reports.
- Dec. 29, 2019: The U.S. dropped several bombs in Iraq and Syria, killing at least 25 people.
- Dec. 31, 2019: Protesters attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on New Year's Eve in retaliation to the bombings in Iraq and Syria.
- Jan. 2, 2020: A drone strike approved by President Trump killed Soleimani and five others near the Baghdad's airport.
- Jan. 4, 2020: Nawres Waleed Hamid was buried at the Greater Sacramento Muslim Cemetery in Sacramento.
- Jan. 4, 2020: President Trump said in a string of tweets that U.S. government had identified 52 cultural sites to attack if Iran retaliated against America for Soleimani's death.
- Jan. 7, 2020: In response to Soleimani's death, Iran launched more than a dozen missiles targeting at two Iraq bases housing U.S. troops. There has no official information on possible casualties or injuries in the attacks. Jonathan Hoffman, the assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said in statement, "It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil."
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