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Iraqi militias agree to suspend attacks on US targets: report

Iranian-backed Iraqi militia groups have agreed to suspend attacks on American targets in Iraq on the condition the United States withdraw from the country, a spokesperson for one of the militias told Reuters on Sunday.

“The factions have presented a conditional ceasefire,” said Mohammed Mohi, spokesperson for Kataib Hezbollah. “It includes all factions of the resistance, including those who have been targeting US forces.”

The US embassy in Baghdad, military bases housing foreign troops, and convoys under contract to the US-led Global Coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) have come under frequent rocket and IED (improvised explosive device) attack this year, after the US killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad in January. A group called the Islamic Front for Resistance inside Iraq, whose aim is to force the withdrawal of American troops, has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

The Iraqi parliament passed a non-binding resolution in January calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops. Over the summer, the United States and Coalition nations have scaled back their footprint, handing over control of bases to Iraqi security forces and the Pentagon announced it would reduce US forces on the ground from 5,200 to 3,000 in September.

The Kataib Hezbollah spokesperson told Reuters the Iraqi government must implement the parliamentary resolution, though they were not issuing a deadline to do so. He vowed more serious attacks if Washington did not leave. “If America insists on staying and doesn’t respect the parliament’s decision, then the factions will use all the weapons at their disposal,” said Mohi.

Washington signaled late last month that it would close its embassy in Baghdad if the attacks did not cease, sparking fears within the Iraqi government. Iraq will plunge into “direct economic collapse” if the US follows through on that threat, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said. Source