NRI Dunia
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Iran-backed militias offer truce for US troop withdrawal

Iraqi militias backed by Iran have agreed to temporarily halt attacks targeting the American presence in Iraq on the condition that US-led coalition troops withdraw from the country in line with a parliamentary resolution, three of the militia officials said Sunday.

The militia officials spoke to The Associated Press just hours after a roadside bomb targeted a convoy transporting equipment for the US-led coalition on a highway south of Baghdad, damaging one vehicle, an Iraqi army statement said.

The attack prompted questions over whether such a truce could hold across all militia factions.

Roadside bombs and especially rocket attacks targeting the US Embassy—located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad—have become a frequent occurrence and have strained ties between Baghdad and Washington.

The militia factions offered a truce and will refrain from targeting the US in Iraq, including the US Embassy, on the condition that American forces withdraw within an “acceptable timeframe”, said Mohammed Mohie, a spokesman for the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah.

“If it does not withdraw, the resistance factions will resume their military activities with all the capabilities available to them,” he said.

Two other factions from different Iran-backed groups echoed Mohie’s comments, without specifying a length of the truce, and said it was open-ended.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to give statements.

Iraqi lawmakers vote in January on a non-binding resolution to oust US-led coalition troops in the country, following a Washington-directed drone strike that killed Iranian general Qassim Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis outside Baghdad’s international airport.

The militia factions’ comments indicate some de-escalation following weeks of tensions.

The Trump administration has warned Iraq’s leadership it would close the US Embassy in Baghdad if the militia groups were not contained.