Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis laid to rest in Najaf

Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis laid to rest in Najaf

"Our policy has not changed".

But after a few hours of denials and frantic phone calls, top Pentagon leaders tried to do damage control, stating flatly that the USA had no plans to leave and saying the letter was a poorly worded draft that never should have gone out.

He said this was "a very good step to give the Iraqi government time to evaluate the situation" after Iraq's parliament called for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Activities on both missions have been paused as coalition nations assess the fallout from the Friday airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Washington Post Beirut bureau chief Liz Sly has confirmed its authenticity of the letter.

"They said it's a draft", Abdul Mahdi said. "As a result, we have increased our force protection postures across the region and will continue to reposition and bolster our forces as necessary to protect our people, our interests and our facilities".

Iraqi President Barham Salih, a Kurd, said the coalition presence was a domestic affair after Iran called on the United States to leave Iraq. "The letter clearly indicates a withdrawal".

The withdrawal vote followed a U.S. drone strike that had killed top Iranian commander, Gen Qassem Soleimani, at Baghdad airport. "We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure", Gen Seely wrote.

The bungled message started when a draft letter from Marine Brig.

On Sunday the Iraqi parliament voted in support of expelling US troops, and the idea gained force Monday when the letter from the head of Task Force-Iraq, US Brigadier General William Seely, announcing a US exit was revealed.

A letter from William H Seely III, the commander of the USA task force in Iraq, to his Iraqi counterpart dated Monday said the US-led coalition "will reposition forces over the next few days and weeks to prepare for the forward movement".

He also said the United States wouldn't leave without being reimbursed for military investments made in Iraq.

It was unclear how night operations would accomplish that.

Tehran told the Iraqi Prime Minister that only locations where USA forces were present would be targeted without specifying the locations, Adil Abd Al-Mahdi's spokesman said in his statement.

"It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting USA military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil".

MEMRI also reported that Muqtada Al-Sadr, a Shia cleric and the leader of the powerful Sadr movement, taunted Trump in a statement.

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