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Iraq wants to end US presence “more than ever"

Dilan Sirwan

Feb. 08, 2024
Image of Iraq wants to end US presence “more than ever" People, rescuers and security forces gather around a vehicle hit by a drone strike, reportedly killing three people, including two leaders of a pro-Iran group, in Baghdad on February 7, 2024 (Photo by MURTAJA LATEEF / AFP)

Iraq wants to end the US-led coalition's mission amid escalating tensions following a US drone strike, prompting concerns about stability and sovereignty.

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region of Iraq - Iraq wants to end the US-led coalition’s mission “more than ever before”, the country’s top military spokesperson said following a US drone strike in Baghdad on Wednesday night that killed two militia officials.

“This path pushes the Iraqi government, more than ever before, to end the mission of this coalition, which has become a factor of instability for Iraq, and threatens to drag Iraq into the circle of conflict,” the Iraqi prime minister’s military spokesperson Yehia Rasool said in a statement on Thursday.

The US Central Command in a statement announced that they had killed a Kataib Hezbollah commander “responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on U.S. forces in the region.”

The identity of one of the three people killed in the car targeted by the US was identified as Abu Baqir al-Saadi, described to be in charge of Kataib Hezbollah’s logistics.

Kataib Hezbollah, a pro-Iran armed group which is part of the Iran-led Islamic Resistance network of militias announced that they would temporarily suspend all activities targeting US forces after US President Joe Biden announced that the US would respond to the killing of three of its service members in Jordan.

However, their strategy did not keep them off the US target.

In a statement on Wednesday, al-Nujaba brigade, which is also part of the same network, called for a mass mobilization following the US attack.

The US launched the first round of retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday for the death of three US service members in Jordan late last month.

The US announced to have targeted 85 targets of interest to the IRGC’s Quds Force and pro-Iran militias.

The strikes on the Iraqi side hit Anbar’s al-Qaem, directly on the Syrian border, and housed several Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) facilities and personnel.

According to the PMF, 16 members of their forces were killed in the strikes and at least 36 others were wounded.

Iraq’s foreign ministry on Saturday summoned the US embassy’s charge d’affaires to protest the US “aggression”.

While meeting with Iranian National Security Advisor Ali Akbar Ahmadian, Iraqi PM Sudani in a statement said he had told the Iranian official that “Iraq rejects any unilateral actions undertaken by any country,” and that they will not “flatter” any country at the expense of its sovereignty.

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Author Dilan Sirwan

Dilan Sirwan is an Erbil-based Kurdish journalist covering Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He focuses on political, economic, and social issues.

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