US and allies condemn Shiite militia drone attack in Iraq

Statement comes after the latest attack on American forces

People gather around destroyed vehicles at the scene of an explosion in the Habibiya district of the Sadr City suburb of Iraq's capital Baghdad. AFP
People gather around destroyed vehicles at the scene of an explosion in the Habibiya district of the Sadr City suburb of Iraq's capital Baghdad. AFP

The US and several of its European allies on Friday condemned the recent drone attack on US-led forces stationed in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The UK, France, Germany and Italy joined the US in condemning “in the strongest terms” Wednesday’s attack at the Erbil International Airport.

“Together, our governments will support the government of Iraq’s investigation into the attacks to ensure that those responsible will be held accountable,” the joint statement said. “We are united in our view that attacks on US and coalition personnel and facilities will not be tolerated and reiterate our steadfast commitment to the fight against ISIS.”

A previously unknown Shiite militia called Al Sabiqoon claimed credit for the drone attack, demanding that the US “leave the whole region".

Iran-backed militias and political factions have called for the withdrawal of US forces, which are currently stationed in Iraq to help Baghdad root out ISIS remnants throughout the country.

Several militias have resumed attacks on US-led forces since President Joe Biden took office earlier this year.

The attacks prompted Mr Biden to launch an air- strike on two Iraqi militias stationed in Syria in February.

The US and Iraq convened their first strategic dialogue under the Biden administration last week at the request of Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi.

A joint US-Iraq statement issued at the end of the strategic dialogue hinted at the “redeployment of any remaining combat forces from Iraq, with the timing to be established in coming technical talks.”

However, that agreement is likely to result in a significant overall reduction in the 2,500 US troops remaining in Iraq given the fact that the vast majority of American forces stationed there are officially serving in an advisory – rather than combat – role.

Published: April 16, 2021 09:31 PM

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