Iraq demands that USA backtrack about Jerusalem


A number of militias and influential religious figures in Iraq have strongly condemned the US' decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, issuing thinly-veiled threats to American interests in the region.

Trump's move to end decades of careful USA policy on Jerusalem has sparked a storm of condemnation around the globe, both from Washington's traditional allies and its worldwide foes.

The ministry also summoned U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Silliman to register its displeasure with the move, according to ministry spokesman Ahmed Mahjoob.

The spiritual head of Iraq's Shiites Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in a statement "denounced and condemned the American decision that injures the feelings of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims".

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

"But it won't change the reality that Jerusalem is an occupied land which should return to the sovereignty of its Palestinian owners no matter how long it takes", it said.

The US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital may become a "legitimate reason" to attack American troops in Iraq, Shia paramilitary group Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba said.

The United States is leading an global coalition helping Iraq fight Islamic State and has provided air and ground support.

Nujaba, mostly made up of Iraqis, has about 10,000 fighters, according to Reuters data.

The ruling Dawa Party leader and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in November announced that the US' presence in Iraq was causing instability and called on the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The PMF is government sanctioned and formally reports to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office.