Iraq’s foreign minister described a rocket attack on the capital Tuesday as a “terrorist attack,” and said that U.S.-led combat operations will end with the upcoming troop withdrawals, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The Pentagon announced the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will decrease from 3,000 to 2,500, the AP reported. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein said that the withdrawal of 500 troops would officially end U.S.-led coalition combat operations against ISIS.
“Our dialogue is ongoing and we are following the situation and political changes in the U.S., and there are ongoing meetings to assess the coming stage,” Hussein said of the announced withdrawal, the AP reported.
Breaking: US will drawdown troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 each by Jan 15, 2021, says new Acting SecDef Miller, saying repositioning of troops “does not equate change” to US policies or objectives.
⁰There are now approx 4,500 troops in Afghanistan, 3,000 troops in Iraq.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 17, 2020
A rocket attack on the Green Zone, where the U.S. Embassy and Iraq’s government is located, has yet to be claimed by any group, though U.S. officials accused Iran-backed Shiite militias based on previous attacks and its interest in Iraq, the AP reported.
Hussein called the seven rocket strike that killed one child and injured five others “blatant, criminal and terrorist” in a meeting with U.S. officials, the AP reported. The attack marked the end of an informal truce where militia groups supported by Iran said they would stop attacking U.S. bases in Iraq.
“It is an attack on the Iraqi government and Iraqi people and we condemn such operation,” Hussein said, the AP reported.
The informal truce was constructed around the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops and was passed in Parliament with a non-binding resolution in January, the AP reported. The resolution passed during a time of high tensions after a U.S. strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani.
The number of troops was previously reduced from 5,200 to 3,000, as part of a planned withdrawal from multiple Iraqi bases, the AP reported. Active ISIS cells in northern Iraq still target security forces in the Diyala and Kirkuk province.
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