US Military Contractor Whose Death Led To Soleimani Strike Finally Identified

The US administration identified as its casus belli for the drone strike on IRGC Quds chief Qasem Soleimani  which in turn led to the overnight Iranian ballistic missile attack on US bases in Iraq  the late December killing of a US contractor by an Iran-backed militia rocket strike on a base in Kirkuk (additionally citing that more such attacks were being planned by the Iranian general).

On Tuesday night, The Sacramento Bee finally identified the contractor whose death has nearly sparked a war. Sacramento resident, 33-year old Nawres Waleed Hamid was laid to rest on Saturday after being killed in the Dec.27 attack blamed on Kataeb Hezbollah. 

33-year old Iraqi-American Nawres Waleed Hamid. Image via The Daily Mail.

An Iraqi-American, Hamid served as a translator for Herndon, Virginia-based company security firm Valiant, which contracts with the Army Intelligence and Security Command, and according to its website assists with operations ranging from counterintelligence to support to special operations personnel. 

Immediately after his death, the US had taken the unprecedented action of conducting a major bombing on Kataeb Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria, killing 25. 

However, the Pentagon remained mum for over a week as to the identity of the US contractor killed. Hamid's family subsequently learned the news through his employer

Noor Alkhalil, Hamid’s wife, spoke with The Sacramento Bee from her Arden Arcade apartment. She felt something was wrong when Hamid stopped responding to her phone messages. Shortly after, she received a knock on her door. Hamid’s employer, Valiant Integrated Services, broke the news of his death.

And Valiant confirmed his death on Tuesday. “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Nawres Hamid,” Valiant said in a statement. “Mr. Hamid was a consummate professional and highly committed member of the Valiant team who was cherished and valued by his colleagues.”

The security firm did not release any further details as the precise nature of his work in Iraq, however, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) identified him as a linguist: “Our U.S. military has relied on the expertise and professionalism of linguists in almost every mission around the globe, especially in Iraq,” she said.

Hamid became a naturalized US citizen in 2017 after he and his family first came to the United States in 2011. He was laid to rest at the Greater Sacramento Muslim Cemetery in a service paid for by his company, Valiant.