Baghdad warns US over ‘attacks’ on Iraq territory

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Iraq’s prime minister warned Washington on Saturday against any “attack” on Iraqi territory, after a resumption of fighting in the Israel-Hamas war renewed concerns of a wider conflict.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani made his comment during a phone call made to him by United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, al-Sudani’s office said.

On November 22, US fighter jets struck two targets in Iraq, killing nine pro-Iran fighters in retaliation for repeated attacks on American troops, US and Iraqi sources said.

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Hours earlier, a warplane struck the vehicle of Iran-backed fighters after they had fired a short-range ballistic missile at US and allied personnel, according to the Pentagon.

The strikes came after US forces deployed in Iraq and Syria were attacked at least 74 times, according to Pentagon officials, a surge linked to the war between Israel and Hamas.

During his call with Blinken, al-Sudani rejected “any attack on Iraqi territory,” the statement from his office said.

Al-Sudani also said the Iraqi government is committed “to ensuring the safety of the international coalition advisers present in Iraq.”

The US strikes targeted positions of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation), a coalition of former paramilitary forces integrated into the Iraqi regular military.

Washington’s strikes killed nine fighters, according to tolls by the Hezbollah Brigades, an important faction within the Hashed al-Shaabi.

Most strikes targeting American troops in Iraq were claimed by “the Islamic resistance in Iraq,” a loose formation of armed groups affiliated with the Hashed.

On November 25, the head of the Hezbollah Brigades said in a statement that the group would “reduce the intensity of operations” against American troops in the Middle East “until the end of the truce” between Israel and Hamas.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that there had been no attacks on US troops in Iraq and Syria after the truce began.

On Friday the pause expired, and fighting between Hamas and Israel resumed.

Washington has also targeted Iran-backed groups in Syria after attacks on its forces there.

There are roughly 2,500 US troops in Iraq and around 900 in Syria as part of efforts to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

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