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    Iraqi Paramilitary Forces Allege Daesh Responsibility in Pilgrim Bus Attack

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    BEIRUT (Sputnik) - The Iraqi paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) cast the blame for the recent attack on a pilgrim bus south of the central Iraqi city of Balad on the Daesh State terror group.

    "This evening, IS [DAESH] militants carried out an attack on a bus, which carrying pilgrims from Iran, near Balad. As a result, seven Iranian pilgrims were injured, along with one Iraqi pilgrim", the paramilitary forces said in a statement, published on their official website late on Sunday.

    On Sunday, the bus, which was carrying pilgrims to a Shiite mausoleum in Balad, struck a roadside bomb south of the city. It was initially reported that some of the pilgrims were killed.

    The 43rd brigade of the paramilitary forces is carrying out raids in areas neighboring Balad in a bid to seize the Daesh militants who fled the site of the incident promptly after the attack.

    The PMF is an official umbrella entity reportedly composed of up to 40 various militant groups united under the aegis of Iraq's Interior Ministry. The force was created in a bid to unite militants' efforts to drive Daesh out of country.

    Then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi issued a decree in early 2018 including the PMF into the country's armed forces.

    WATCH: Footage of Iraqi, Coalition Airstrikes Against Daesh Remnants

    The US-led coalition of more than 70 countries also conducts military operations against the Daesh in Iraq. Baghdad has given its official consent for the coalition's operations on Iraqi territory.

    READ MORE: Daesh Could Reclaim Syrian Areas Abandoned by US in a Year – Report

    A December announcement by US President Donald Trump that all US troops deployed in Syria would be coming home — and reports of plans to cut the US Afghan deployment in half — has prompted effort by Trump's inner circle and Republicans in Congress to delay any withdrawal.

    Members of Congress and Trump's White House advisers have attempted to walk back a presidential announcement that some 2,000 US troops in Syria would come home within a month, claiming the Daesh is not yet defeated.

    READ MORE: Iraqi Intel Claims Daesh Leader's Son Killed by Russian Forces — Reports

    Meanwhile, the Iraqi lawmakers will work on drafting a law that would terminate the security agreement with the United States, thus, ending the presence of the US and other foreign military advisers in the country, Iraqi First Deputy Speaker Hassan Karim Kaabi said on Sunday.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

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    Tags:
    Daesh, bus, pilgrims, attack, Iraq
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