Iraqi Parliamentary Bloc Calls U.S.-Backed Israeli Strikes Declaration of War

BAGHDAD (AP) -
israel iraq
Iraq’s President Barham Salih, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and the speaker of Iraq’s parliament Mohammed al-Halbousi meet with head of the Popular Mobilization forces Faleh al-Fayyad and other leaders at Salam Palace in Baghdad, Monday. (The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office/Handout via Reuters)

A powerful bloc in Iraq’s parliament called on Monday for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, following a series of airstrikes targeting Iran-backed Shiite militias in the country that have been blamed on Israel.

The Fatah Coalition said 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 strike in the western Iraqi town of Qaim killed a commander in the forces — the latest in strikes apparently conducted by Israel against the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. It added that U.S. troops are no longer needed in Iraq.

The Shiite militiamen, meanwhile, held a funeral procession in Baghdad for the commander killed Sunday. Marching behind a banner with the words “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” some trampled on an American flag as they marched.

Anger is mounting in Iraq following a spate of mysterious airstrikes that have targeted military bases and a weapons depot belonging to Iran-backed militias. The drone attacks have not been claimed by any side, but U.S. officials have said Israel was behind at least one of the attacks that killed two Iranian commanders on July 19.