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Iran-backed militias offer truce if US troops withdraw from Iraq

BAGHDAD — Iraqi militias backed by Iran have agreed to temporarily halt attacks targeting the American presence in Iraq on the condition that US-led coalition troops withdraw from the country in line with a parliamentary resolution, three of the militia officials say today.

The militia officials speak to The Associated Press just hours after a roadside bomb targeted a convoy transporting equipment for the US-led coalition on a highway south of Baghdad, damaging one vehicle, an Iraqi army statement said. The attack prompted questions over whether such a truce could hold across all militia factions.

Roadside bombs and especially rocket attacks targeting the US embassy — located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad — have become a frequent occurrence and have strained ties between Baghdad and Washington.

The militia factions offered a truce and will refrain from targeting the US in Iraq, including the US embassy, on the condition that American military withdraw within an “acceptable time frame,” says Mohammed Mohie, a spokesman for the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah.

“If it does not withdraw, the resistance factions will resume their military activities with all the capabilities available to them,” he says.

Two other factions from different Iran-backed groups echo Mohie’s comments, without specifying a length of the truce, and say it is open-ended. They are speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to give statements.

— AP

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