Iraq prime minister tells US to begin plan for troop withdrawal

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Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with devising a system for a withdrawal of US troops from the country, according to a statement from the premier’s office.

Abdul-Mahdi made the request in a phone call with the top US diplomat late Thursday, according to the statement, which said Pompeo made the call.

The move followed a vote by the Iraqi parliament to expel the 5,000 American troops in the country after a US drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last week.

Also killed in the strike was senior Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Iran retaliated Tuesday night by firing 11 ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house US troops. There were no casualties and both Tehran and Washington have since moved to de-escalate tensions.

Abdul-Mahdi said his country rejects all violations against its sovereignty, including the volley of Iranian missiles and America’s violation of Iraq’s airspace in the airstrike that killed Soleimani, who commanded the Quds Force.

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