An Iranian-backed militia in Iraq threatened on Thursday to attack US forces in the country in retaliation for President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “The decision by Trump on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) makes it legitimate to strike the American forces in Iraq,” Al-Nojaba militia chief Akram al-Kaabi said in a statement.
The group, established in 2013 and supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, numbers around 1,500 fighters and is part of the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization) auxiliary force that has fought alongside the army against the Islamic State group. Trump’s move to end decades of careful US policy has sparked a storm of condemnation around the globe, both from Washington’s traditional allies and its international foes.
Tehran has slammed the decision as “provocative and unwise” and warned that it will rile Muslims and stir a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising. The US has thousands of troops stationed in Iraq to help in the fight against IS. Officially, the Pentagon says it has 5,262 personnel in Iraq, but other figures released by the US military have put the number at almost 9,000.