A powerful bloc in Iraq’s parliament has called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, following a series of air raids targeting Iran-backed Shia militias in the country that have been blamed on Israel.
The Fatah Coalition said on Monday that it holds the United States fully responsible for the alleged Israeli aggression, “which we consider to be a declaration of war on Iraq and its people.”
The coalition is a parliament bloc representing Iran-backed paramilitary militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.
The coalition’s statement came a day after a drone attack in the western Iraqi town of Qaim killed a commander with the forces – the latest in attacks apparently conducted by Israel against the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. It added that US troops are no longer needed in Iraq.
Israeli also launched a similar attack against Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, which Beirut called a “declaration of war”.
The Shia militia group, meanwhile, held a funeral procession in Baghdad for the commander killed on Sunday.
“There is no greater God but God!” the mourners shouted as they marched behind a banner with the words “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” Some trampled on an American flag as they marched.
The Pentagon issued a statement Monday denying responsibility for the recent attacks and promising to cooperate with Iraqi investigations.
“We support Iraqi sovereignty and have repeatedly spoken out against any potential actions by external actors inciting violence in Iraq, ” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan R Hoffman said.
“The government of Iraq has the right to control their own internal security and protect their democracy.”
Anger is mounting in Iraq following a spate of mysterious air raids that have targeted military bases and a weapons depot suspected of belonging to Iran-backed militias.
The drone attacks have not been claimed by any side but US officials have said Israel was behind at least one of the attacks.
The Shia militias have blamed the attacks on Israel but hold its ally the US ultimately responsible.