09:29 GMT +321 April 2019
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    US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump take photos with members of the US military during an unannounced trip to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on December 26, 2018

    Iraqi Lawmakers Vexed by Trump’s Surprise Visit to Military Base Near Baghdad

    © AFP 2019 / SAUL LOEB
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iraqi legislators from the powerful Binaa bloc on Thursday criticized US President Donald Trump for a surprise Christmas visit to an airbase near Baghdad, saying US troops must leave.

    "This visit calls into question US military presence and its real goals… All political forces must unite in a sovereign call for an end to suspicious US military presence on Iraqi soil," the bloc’s statement read, as cited by the Alsumaria news channel.

    READ MORE: Strategic Expert on US' Syria Pullout: Americans Will Transfer Troops to Iraq

    Lawmakers from Binaa, led by militia leader Hadi Amiri and former prime minister Nuri Maliki, accused Trump of breaking the diplomatic code and demanded that the US ambassador be summoned.

    Trump and his wife Melania flew to Al Asad Air Base on Christmas night to thank US personnel for their service, according to the White House. Trump said he did not plan pulling forces – estimated at 5,000 – from the country. US troops have been on the ground in Iraq since the invasion of 2003.

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    military base, Donald Trump, Iraq, United States
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