U.S. Troops ‘Must Leave Cities by June Deadline’ and Hand Over Military ‘Criminals’
Spokesman leaves open return with permission.
Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari says that despite the rising violence across the nation, US forces will have to leave Iraq’s cities by the June 30 deadline dictated by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the two nations. >>>
Iraq says several US soldiers have breached a security pact and must stand trial for an attack in the southern Iraqi town of al-Kut.
On Sunday, US troops shot dead two members of an Iraqi family and detained four others in a raid on their house in al-Kut. Following the incident, the US military apologized and expressed sadness over its hostile conduct.
Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie, in a news conference on Monday, said that those who carried out the raid committed a “crime” against Iraqi civilians and should be put on trial.
The official said that Baghdad had asked the US to hand over those responsible for the killing, at any military rank, to Iraqi officials.
He added that it was not enough for Baghdad just to receive an expression of sadness and an apology over the incident.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki also touched on the issue and condemned the fatal raid, confirming that the attack was in breach of a security pact signed between the two governments in November.
The agreement requires that all US military operations be “fully coordinated” with Iraqi authorities. It also denies US troops stationed in the country immunity from legal prosecution on the condition that they commit an off-base offence against civilians.
Al-Maliki called on the US to hand over the culprits to the courts.
The US has caused deep resentment in countries with which it has entered SOFA agreements as a result of their controversial granting of immunity from prosecution to American forces who commit crimes in the host country.