Iraq demands US backtrack on Jerusalem

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An Iranian-backed militia in Iraq threatened on Thursday to attack U.S. forces in the country in retaliation for President Donald Trump recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump officially announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, where he plans to relocate the US Embassy.

A USA soldier with an Iraqi trainee during infantry squad tactical training at Camp Taji, Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari summoned the U.S. ambassador in the country to protest the shift, while powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads his own militia, demanded the closure of the American embassy in Baghdad and warned that "we can reach Israel through Syria". "The Iraqi government received this news with the utmost worry and warns about this decision's ramifications on the stability of the region and the world". "The US administration has to backtrack on this decision to stop any unsafe escalation that would fuel extremism and create conditions favorable to terrorism".

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Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf also condemned the move, saying all "efforts of the nation must be united in this way", referring to the need for hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims to "return Jerusalem to its Palestinian owners".

The United States is leading an worldwide coalition helping Iraq fight Islamic State and has provided air and ground support. Being a part of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the group is considered to be one of the most important militias in Iraq.

Nujaba, mostly made up of Iraqis, has about 10,000 fighters, according to Reuters data. The PMF is government sanctioned and formally reports to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office.

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