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21 Mar, 2016 12:57

Iraqi Shiite militias say US troops ‘forces of occupation,’ demand withdrawal

Iraqi Shiite militias say US troops ‘forces of occupation,’ demand withdrawal

Iran-backed Shiite militia forces in Iraq have strongly opposed new US troops deployed in the country. The militias warned that if Washington does not withdraw its forces "immediately," they will deal with them "as forces of occupation."

The US military are "making a new suspicious attempt to restore their presence in the country under the pretext of fighting their own creation, Daesh [acronym for Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL]," the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia said on its TV channel, al-Ahd on Monday, as quoted by Reuters.

The Shiite group added that "if the US administration doesn't withdraw its forces immediately, we will deal with them as forces of occupation."

Additional troops deployed by Washington on Sunday were also strongly objected to by Iraqi Hezbollah on Monday.

The Hezbollah movement in Iraq said the new deployment of US marines is a plot to help IS terrorists.

Stressing its resistance against Washington's "occupation of the regional states," Hezbollah said the US has sent its forces to Iraq to further assist IS, the Iranian Fars news agency reported, citing the al-Mayadeen news channel.

Despite Baghdad saying it doesn't need foreign assistance in fighting jihadists, the Pentagon announced the new deployment on Sunday, saying it has sent a detachment of US Marines to Iraq to bolster the fight against IS.

A group of Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), was on the ground in Iraq, the US military said, without specifying exactly how many personnel have been sent to Iraq. The move followed the killing of a US marine in an IS rocket attack last week.