Iraq’s Parliament calls for expulsion of U.S. troops

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BAGHDAD – Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of U.S. troops from the country Sunday in reaction to the American drone attack that killed a top Iranian general.

Lawmakers approved a resolution asking the Iraqi government to end the agreement under which Washington sent forces to Iraq more than four years ago to help in the fight against the Islamic State group.

A pullout of the estimated 5,200 U.S. troops could cripple the fight against ISIS and allow its resurgence.

The majority of about 180 legislators present in Parliament voted in favour of the resolution. It was backed by most Shiite members of parliament, who hold a majority of seats. Many Sunni and Kurdish legislators did not show up for the session, apparently because they oppose abolishing the deal.

The vote came two days after a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport, dramatically increasing regional tensions and raising fears of war. Iran has vowed revenge.

Meanwhile. amid Iran’s threats of vengeance, the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq announced Sunday it is putting the fight against Islamic State militants on hold to focus on protecting its troops and bases. The coalition said it is suspending the training of Iraqi forces and other operations in support of the fight against ISIS.

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