Pro-Iranian armed groups vowed on Friday to continue their attacks against the international anti-jihadist coalitiondespite the upcoming talks between Iraq and the United States about the presence of these troops in Iraqi territory.
Washington has forces in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), but after the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas Troops have faced frequent attacks, prompting the United States to launch retaliatory strikes in Iraq.
The volatile situation has pushed the Iraqi prime minister, whose government depends on the support of parties aligned with Iran, to call for leaving the coalition.
The United States and Iraq announced Thursday that they were beginning troop talks, and Baghdad hoped they would lead to a timetable for reducing forces.
In a statement on Telegram, the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq”a loose alliance of Iran-linked groups that oppose U.S. support for Israel in the Gaza conflict, said the U.S. agreement to hold talks was “an attempt to reshuffle the deck and buy time.”
“The response of the Islamic Resistance will be to continue its operations… against the foreign presence… until its true intentions and the seriousness of its commitment to withdraw its forces are demonstrated,” the group stated.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Washington and Baghdad had agreed to form working groups that would eventually lead to formulating “a specific and clear timeline… and beginning the gradual drawdown of its (coalition) advisers on Iraqi soil.” ”.
The ministry said the timeline would depend on the assessment of the “threat posed by IS and its danger,” as well as “strengthening the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.”
The deputy press secretary of the Pentagon, Sabrina Singhtold reporters Thursday that the U.S. military footprint in Iraq “will certainly be part of the talks as they move forward.”
Previously, a senior U.S. defense official had said the upcoming meetings would not be a negotiation on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, but said Washington “sees the need to transition to a normal bilateral relationship of cooperation on security”.
There are approximately 2,500 US troops deployed to Iraq and around 900 in Syria as part of the anti-IS coalition formed in 2014, the year the jihadist group overran around a third of Iraq.
Earlier this month, Islamic Resistance confirmed a drone attack on a military base with a US presence in Erbilthe capital of the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, the latest in a series of similar actions in that country as part of the war in Gaza.
“The mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq attacked the occupied Harir base in Erbil, northern Iraq. with drones, and the Islamic Resistance confirms its continued destruction of enemy strongholds,” the pro-Iranian group said in a statement.
(With information from AFP and EFE)