Nawres Hamid was an Iraqi immigrant and contracted linguist for the U.S. military whose death has been cited by President Donald Trump as a justification for the American drone attack against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
The death of the contractor ignited a chain of events that has led to escalating tensions with Iran. His full name is Nawres Waleed Hamid, and he was a married father of two who lived in Sacramento, California.
“Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!” tweeted President Donald Trump on December 31, 2019. Although he didn’t name him, the president was referring to Nawres Hamid.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The U.S. Believes an Iraqi Militia Backed by Iran Is Responsible for Hamid’s Death
The United States suspects that “the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, an Iraqi militia backed by Iran” caused Hamid’s death, according to Stars and Stripes. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hamid died in a militia rocket attack on December 27, 2019 against a base near Kirkuk, Iraq.
ABC10 reported that 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 in the attack, and others were wounded.
Hamid’s death set off a dramatic chain of events; first, the United States killed 25 people in Iraq and Syria affiliated with the group in retaliation, upon which Iran stoked an attack on the American embassy in Baghdad, which in turn provoked the United States to say enough and assassinate Soleimani, the top Iranian general who was the mastermind behind Iran’s strategies throughout the Middle East and who led the powerful Quds force.
Iran then responded by lobbing missiles at bases housing American soldiers in Iraq, but no casualties resulted. Soleimani’s death has ratcheted up tensions between the United States and Iran. For days, though, the contractor whose death ignited all of this was not known.
2. Hamid Worked as a Linguist for the Military & a Congresswoman Emphasized the Importance of That Mission & Hamid’s Sacrifice to the Country
According to California Rep. Doris Matsui, Hamid worked 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,” Matsui said, according to ABC 10. “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.”
Hamid’s Facebook page says he studied Computer Information science-Network at American River College. He was buried at the Greater Sacramento Muslim Cemetery.
3. Hamid Was the Married Father of Two Young Children Who Was an Immigrant to the United States
Hamid leaves behind a young family. He was the married father of two children, sons, ages 2 and 8, according to KCRA-TV.
NBC reported that Hamid was married to wife Noor Alkhalili.
Hamid’s wife told The Sacramento Bee: “He was the only person I knew here. It still doesn’t feel real. It has been difficult to accept that he is no longer here.”
She told the Bee that she and Hamid came to the U.S. in 2011, and she plans to remain in this country to become a medical technician. “What would I return to in Iraq?” she asked, according to the newspaper. “Now my focus is on my two children; they are my world.”
4. Hamid Became a Naturalized Citizen in 2017 & Worked as a Contractor
Hamid was an immigrant from Iraq who was a naturalized American citizen, NBC News reported.
Hamid became a naturalized citizen in 2017, according to The Washington Post.
Valiant Integrated Services LLC, a company based in Virginia for which Hamid worked, issued a statement on January 7, 2020 calling Hamid “a consummate professional and highly committed member of the Valiant team who was cherished and valued by his colleagues,” according to Stars and Stripes.
Valiant, where Hamid was a contractor, explains on its website, “Valiant provides vital resources, high value solutions and critical support services for essential missions of the U.S. Government, its allied partners and international organizations. Valiant services these customers by deploying expertise in; Facilities Management, Base Operations and Support Services, Expeditionary Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Contingency Contracting, Training, Mission Support, Engineering & Analysis and support to the Intelligence Community.”
5. Hamid Was Remembered as ‘The Best Person’ Who Was a Good Communicator
Abdul Naser, Hamid’s neighbor in an apartment complex in the Arden-Arcade neighborhood of Sacramento, told Fox 40, “He was the best person, best communication as well to help the people. But he was a very nice person.”
He added that he saw Hamid’s wife crying and that’s how he learned Hamid had died.
The Washington Post described Hamid as an “Arabic interpreter for U.S. forces in Iraq.”