HOUSTON-Oil prices jumped for the week ending Jan. 3 following the U.S. killing of an Iranian commander. QassemSoleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq’s paramilitary HashdShaabi forces, were killed in a strike near the Baghdad airport.

Sabah al-Sheikh, a professor of politics at Baghdad University, told Xinhua that the U.S.-Iranian conflict has become clear in Iraq, and there is a possibility that the conflict could spread to cover more areas in the Middle East region.

Shortly after the strike, oil prices jumped more than 3 percent, and on Friday evening, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery hit over 63 U.S. dollars a barrel, while Brent crude for March delivery climbed to 68.60 dollars a barrel.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report on Friday that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 11.463 million barrels during the week ending Dec. 27, 2019, much more than the market expected draw of 3.288 million barrels, which implies greater demand and is bullish for crude prices.