Iraq’s Parliament calls for expulsion of U.S. troops

BAGHDAD, Iraq - (AP) - Iraq’s Parliament is calling for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the country in reaction to the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general.

A man waves the Iraqi flag while the Iraqi army soldiers are deployed in front of the U.S. embassy, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Iran-backed militiamen have withdrawn from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad after two days of clashes with American security forces. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Lawmakers approved a resolution Sunday asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces more than four years ago to help fight the Islamic State group.

A pullout of the estimated 5,200 U.S. troops could cripple the battle against ISIS and allow its resurgence.

President Donald Trump had harsh words for Iraq. He told reporters that the U.S. wouldn’t leave without being paid for its military investments, then said if the troops do have to withdraw, he would levy punishing economic penalties on Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said the U.S. military across the region “will pay the price” for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Friday in Baghdad.

He says that U.S. bases, warships and soldiers in the Middle East are all fair targets.

The two developments have further heightened tensions in a region already on high alert and bracing for an Iranian retaliation.

The slain general was the architect of many of Iran’s regional military campaigns in recent years.

Later Sunday, residents of Iraq’s capital of Baghdad said three explosions rang out inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone, home to the U.S. Embassy and the seat of Iraq’s government.

This was the second such attack in recent days.

Alert sirens were sounded Sunday in the area on the west bank of the Tigris River. There was no immediate confirmation from authorities but the explosions were believed to have been from mortars or rockets that struck the area.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.



 
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