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Iraq militia threatens US forces after Trump Jerusalem move

There are 5,000 US troops in Iraq, which 'could become a target' [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 December, 2017

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Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital makes US troops in Iraq a target, a militia has said, while Abadi's government has urged the US to backtrack.
A prominent Iraqi militia has warned Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital makes American troops a target, while the Baghdad government has demanded the US backtrack on the decision.

President Donald Trump defied decades of US policy on Wednesday and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, jeopardising Middle East peace efforts and ignoring warnings from Arab leaders and Western allies alike of stoking more unrest.

"We caution against the dangerous repercussions of this decision on the stability of the region and the world," an Iraqi government statement said.

The Iran-backed militia Harakat Hizballah al-Nujaba said Trump's decision could become a "legitimate reason" to attack US forces in Iraq.

"Trump's stupid decision to make Jerusalem a capital for the Zionist will be the big spark for removing this entity from the body of the Islamic nation, and a legitimate reason to target American forces," said the group's leader Akram al-Kaabi.

Trump's stupid decision to make Jerusalem a capital for the Zionist will be the big spark for removing this entity from the body of the Islamic nation, and a legitimate reason to target American forces
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There are more than 5,000 US troops in Iraq, part of an international coalition providing air and ground support in Iraqi forces' fight against Islamic State militants.

Nujaba, which has about 10,000 fighters, is one of the most important militias in Iraq. Though made up of Iraqis, it is backed by Iran and is helping Tehran create a supply route through Iraq to Damascus.

It fights under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), a mostly Iranian-backed coalition of Shia militias that played a role in the battle against IS.

The PMF is government sanctioned and formally reports to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office.

Trump's defiant move – fulfilling a pledge made during his 2016 presidential campaign – ends seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City, which is vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump said this marks the start of a "new approach" to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reacting to Wednesday's Washington speech, hundreds of Palestinians burned US and Israeli flags as well as pictures of Trump in the Gaza Strip, while small clashes erupted near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.

See in pictures: Palestinians in Gaza protest Trump move on Jerusalem

Israel seized the largely Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its capital.

The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Agencies contributed to this report

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