Report: Missiles Hit Iraq Base Housing U.S. Troops

faraway from US bases starting on Sunday at 5:00pm (1400 GMT),” said Kataeb Hezbollah. The deadline would coincide with a parliament ses...

faraway from US bases starting on Sunday at 5:00pm (1400 GMT),” said Kataeb Hezbollah.

The deadline would coincide with a parliament session on Sunday which the Hashed has insisted should see a vote on the ouster folks troops.

Washington has blamed the vehemently anti-American group for a series of rocket attacks in recent weeks targeting US diplomats and troops stationed across Iraq.

Many had feared the American strike that killed Iran’s military mastermind Soleimani would depart a wider conflict with Iran and had been bracing for more attacks.

“This is not any longer a war ,” said Erica Gaston, a non-resident fellow at the New America Foundation.

“What you've got is America attacking an Iranian general directly, and groups are now openly fighting for Iran to avenge him. this is often an immediate war,” she told AFP.

– ‘Foolish’ US outreach –

The US strike on Baghdad international airport early Friday killed a complete of 5 Iranian Revolutionary Guards and five members of Iraq’s Hashed.

Among the dead was Hashed’s deputy head Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top adviser and private friend to Soleimani.

As head of the Guards’ foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, Soleimani was a strong figure domestically and oversaw Iran’s wide-ranging interventions in regional power struggles.

US President Donald Trump had said Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on US personnel in Baghdad and will are killed “many years ago”.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death and Tehran named Soleimani’s deputy, Esmail Qaani, to succeed him.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis including Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, political leaders and clerics attended a mass ceremony on Saturday to honour Soleimani and therefore the other victims.

They waved white Hashed flags and large portraits of Iranian and Iraqi leaders, furiously calling for “revenge” and chanting “Death to America!”

The remains were moved from Baghdad to the shrine city of Karbala then Najaf, where the Iraqis are going to be buried and from whose airports the Guards are to be flown to Iran.

Tehran has slammed the strike as an “act of war” and Abdel Mahdi said it could bring “devastating” violence to Iraq.

World powers quickly involved a de-escalation, and Qatari secretary of state Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani was in Tehran on Saturday for talks together with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Zarif had earlier mocked as “foolish” a diplomatic effort by the us , who he said had sent a letter to Iranian officials through a Swiss envoy, as Tehran and Washington haven't had direct diplomatic ties for many years .

Iran’s Guards said Washington had used “diplomatic measures” to urge Tehran to reply “in proportion” to the strike.

– Ousting ‘the occupier’ –

The attacks on Saturday evening seemed to be precisely the reaction Iraqis had long feared: tit-for-tat strikes between the Hashed and therefore the US on Iraqi soil.

Early on Saturday, the Hashed had claimed a replacement strike hit their convoy north of Baghdad, with Iraqi state media blaming the US.

But the US-led coalition denied involvement, telling AFP: “There was no American or coalition strike” on Saturday.

Following tensions, NATO said it had been suspending its training activities in Iraq and a US defence official told AFP that American-led coalition forces would “limit” operations.

“Our first priority is protecting coalition personnel,” the official said, saying surveillance had shifted from monitoring jihadist sleeper cells to expecting incoming rocket attacks.

As the rocket attacks unfolded, coalition planes were heard circulating above their bases in Kirkuk province, AFP’s correspondent there said.

Iraq’s pro-Iran factions have seized on Soleimani’s death to demand parliament decree that US forces leave Iraq.

“We either vote on the occupation forces leaving, or we remain subservient, robbed of our will and dignity,” said MP Ahmad al-Kinany of the Hashed’s political bloc, Fatah.

“Any parliamentarian absent for the vote on the departure of the occupier will have betrayed his country,” he said.

While praying over Muhandis’ remains in Baghdad on Saturday, Fatah head Hadi al-Ameri pledged to avenge him.

“Be reassured that the worth of your pure blood are going to be the departure of yank troops from Iraq, forever,” he said.




USA Online Articles: Report: Missiles Hit Iraq Base Housing U.S. Troops
Report: Missiles Hit Iraq Base Housing U.S. Troops
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