Iraqi fighters ‘agree conditional ceasefire’ to halt US attacks

Kataib Hezbollah spokesman says suspension is on the condition Iraq’s government presents timetable for US troop withdrawal.

Iraq Shia militia
Mohi said the firing of rockets at US forces and diplomatic compounds had been merely 'a message that you're not welcome in the country' [File: Alaa al-Marjani/Reuters]

An array of Iran-backed Iraqi armed groups have agreed to suspend attacks on United States forces on condition Iraq’s government presents a timetable for a withdrawal of US troops, according to one of the groups.

“The factions have presented a conditional ceasefire,” Mohammed Mohi, spokesman for the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah group, said on Sunday.

“It includes all factions of the [anti-US] resistance, including those who have been targeting US forces,” he told the Reuters news agency.

Mohi said the Iraqi government must implement a parliamentary resolution in January that called for the withdrawal from Iraq of foreign troops.

The parliament’s decision came after a US drone strike at Baghdad airport on January 3 killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraq’s top Shia paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, raising fears of a full-scale Iran-US confrontation on Iraqi soil.

Mohi said there was no deadline for the government to implement the decision, but warned: “If America insists on staying and doesn’t respect the parliament’s decision then the factions will use all the weapons at their disposal.”

He said the firing of Katyusha rockets at US forces and diplomatic compounds had been merely “a message that you’re not welcome in the country” and that worse attacks could follow.

US officials blame Kataib Hezbollah for dozens of rocket attacks against US installations in Iraq.

Kataib Hezbollah denies carrying them out. Smaller and previously unknown groups have claimed some of the attacks. Iraqi security sources believe those groups are linked to Kataib Hezbollah and other larger Iran-aligned groups.

Source: News Agencies