Iraqi PM vows to end U.S.-led coalition in Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani on Friday reiterated his pledge to end the presence of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

The PM made the pledge after  series of U.S. strikes killed Iraqi security personnel and militia leaders.

Al-Sudani said his government would soon start talks with the coalition through a committee to arrange the withdrawal of foreign troops, a move he said was “a commitment that the government will not back down from.”

He was speaking at a memorial ceremony in Baghdad to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. killing of Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike near Baghdad airport.

Al-Sudani accused the coalition of repeating the “crime” of killing Soleimani and al-Muhandis by attacking the headquarters of the state-backed Hashd Shaabi paramilitary forces on Thursday, killing the leader of one of its brigades and two others.

“The Hashd Shaabi forces are official forces affiliated with the state and an integral part of the armed forces,” al-Sudani said, adding that the U.S. strike goes beyond the spirit of the mandate that formed the (anti-Islamic State) international coalition.

Al-Sudani has repeatedly stated in recent weeks he would like to see the U.S.-led coalition leave Iraq.

The U.S. Department of Defence said it carried out a “self-defence” strike in Iraq that killed a leader of the Iran-backed Harakat al-Nujaba group, which is part of the Hashd Shaabi and also operates in Syria.(Xinhua/NAN)