Iraq’s prime minister Sunday urged parliament to take “urgent measures” to force the withdrawal of foreign forces following a U.S. drone strike that killed a senior Iranian commander and key Iraqi militia leader in Baghdad last week.
In an address to parliament, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi recommended that the government establish a timetable for the exit of foreign troops, including the members of the U.S.-led coalition to fight the Islamic State, “for the sake of our national sovereignty.”
“What happened was a political assassination,” Abdul Mahdi said of the U.S. strike that targeted Iran’s elite Quds Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, as traveled in a convoy near the Baghdad airport.
He said that foreign troops were in Iraq to train its forces and help target remnants of the Islamic State “under the supervision and approval of the Iraqi government.”
“Iraq cannot accept this,” he said. “No foreign troops are allowed to conduct their own military actions inside Iraq.”
His statement followed an earlier announcement from the U.S.-led coalition saying it had paused its training mission in Iraq due to “repeated rocket attacks over the last two months” by the Iran-backed militia, Kataib Hezbollah. It would now focus on protecting its bases from attack, the coalition said. NATO announced Saturday its own suspension of training programs.
Iran meanwhile said Sunday it would limit its response to the attack to U.S. military targets.
“The response for sure will be military and against military sites,” Hossein Dehghan, the military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, said in an interview with CNN. “The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted.