Leading Shiite politician calls for total US withdrawal from Iraq
Yahoo News/AFP
October 13, 2007

BAGHDAD (AFP) - A key Shiite member of Iraq's ruling coalition called Saturday for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from his country and rejected the possibility of permanent bases.

Ammar Hakim, a leading figure of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), told a gathering celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr: "We will work not to have fixed bases for foreign troops on Iraqi lands."

He also called on American forces to be more careful in their use of force after recent bombings killed civilians in a Shiite village north of Baghdad and in a Sunni area northwest of the Iraqi capital.

"We are working to enter into a security agreement with the international community to ensure that Iraq retrieves its full sovereignty," he said.

Hakim is the son of SIIC leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim and has played an increasingly prominent role in recent months as his father recovers from cancer.

The SIIC is one of the largest parties in the Iraqi parliament and a key supporter of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.

"We express our deep sorrow at the civilian citizens killed by multi-national forces as happened at al-Jayzani and in other regions," said Hakim. "We wish them to be more cautious in dealing with the citizens."

A double US air strike eight days ago on the village of Jayzani, 30 miles north of Baghdad, killed 25 people US commanders said were Iranian-linked militants but which Iraqi authorities said included women and children.

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