‘We’re going to stay in Iraq,’ says top US commander
“We’re going to be there, our NATO partners are going to be there, to finish the ISIS fight,” General Frank McKenzie told Military Times. “And we’re going to stay in Iraq.”
McKenzie's announcement appears to contradict a joint statement from Washington and Baghdad earlier in April that remaining US troops would withdraw, but would keep providing training to local forces.
IS has made renewed threats to target the Iraqi capital after carrying out deadly attacks on a Baghdad market in January. The Iraqi government subsequently launched a counter-terrorism operation against the extremist group called "Revenge of the Martyrs."
The American commander's comments come as Iran-backed Iraqi militias who oppose Washington's presence in Iraq continue to launch rocket attacks on bases where US troops are present.
McKenzie said that Tehran still seeks to push the US presence out of the country.
“I think Iran still pursues a policy of attempting to eject the United States ― and indeed, our partners and allies ― from the region as well,” he said.
Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strike, the US routinely blames Iran-backed factions for similar attacks.