22:14 GMT30 October 2020
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    Amid frequent attacks in the so-called Green Zone' in Baghdad, several countries, including the United States, have warned Iraq that they may shut down their embassies in the area if shellings on diplomatic missions continue.

    Iraqi militia groups have agreed to temporarily stop shellings targeting the American military presence in the country, as long as the US-led coalition withdraws its troops from Iraq "in line with a parliamentary resolution", The Associated Press reported, citing three militia officials.

    "The militia factions offered a truce and will refrain from targeting the US in Iraq, including the US Embassy, on the condition that American forces withdraw within an 'acceptable timeframe'", said Mohammed Mohie, a spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah.

    If Washington fails to withdraw troops, however, "the resistance factions will resume their military activities with all the capabilities available to them", Mohie reportedly outlined.

    According to AP, the Coordinating Body of the Iraqi Resistance - said to include Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat al-Nujaba - announced on Saturday a “cessation of its operations against foreign, especially American forces and interests in Iraq".

    “The truce came after major personalities intervened and mediated in order to persuade these factions to stop the bombing operations until the end of the American election. [...] These were messages that these personalities conveyed", Mohie said, cited by AP.

    The length of the truce has not been specified, as two other unnamed spokespersons echoed Mohie's remarks, saying only  that it is "open-ended".

    As the Green Zone, the area in Baghdad that hosts the diplomatic missions for several nations, is frequently attacked, Iraqi PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi confirmed in late September that "a number of countries", including the US, had warned Iraq that their embassies may be permanently closed as a result.

    Al-Kadhimi expressed his concern for embassy shutdowns, saying it would terminate cooperation between Iraq and the rest of the world, which would be "dangerous considering the challenges Baghdad is facing".

    Green Zone inside Baghdad, Iraq
    © Sputnik / Sergey Mamontov
    Green Zone inside Baghdad, Iraq

    Despite no group officially claiming responsibility for the attacks on the Green Zone, Washington has blamed what it describes as Iran-backed militias for the shellings. 

    In January, a US drone attack that killed top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani outside Baghdad's international airport prompted a response from Tehran, as it shelled American military bases located in Iraq after warning that such attacks would occur.

    Following the attacks, the Iraqi parliament voted on a non-binding resolution that envisaged ousting US troops from the country - something that the Trump administration, while announcing plans to withdraw US troops from Iraq, has yet to do.

    As of 9 September, there are said to be some 5,200 American troops in Iraq, according to US Central Command.


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