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Roadside bomb explosions hit US-led coalition supply convoys in southern, central Iraq

In this file picture, US soldiers prepare for a live-fire exercise southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by AFP)

Multiple roadside bombs have separately gone off near convoys of trucks carrying equipment and fuel belonging to US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s southern provinces of Dhi Qar and al-Qadisiyah as well as the central province of Babil, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. 

An Iraqi security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Iraq’s Shafaq news agency that an explosive device went off while a convoy was passing along a highway near the city of Nasiriyah, situated about 360 kilometers (225 miles) southeast of the capital Baghdad, on Thursday.

Shortly afterwards, another bomb attack struck a tanker of the US-led coalition forces close to the same Iraqi city. The explosion reportedly injured the driver.

Sabereen News, a news channel associated with Iraqi anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units, later reported that another blast had taken place when a US-led convoy was moving on a highway in the city of al-Diwaniyah, located 180 kilometers south of Baghdad.

There was no immediate information about casualties.

The fourth roadside bomb attack was reported against a US-led coalition supply convoy in the central province of Babil. It left no military personnel injured.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks yet.

The attacks come as US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday sealed an agreement, formally ending the US combat mission in Iraq by the end of the current year, more than 18 years after US troops were sent to the country.

Under the agreement, however, US military forces will continue to operate in Iraq in what has been termed as an “advisory role.”

A joint Iraq-US statement issued after the meeting said the “security” relationship will be focused on “training, advising and intelligence-sharing.”

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Biden said the US would continue to “train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS (Daesh) as it arises,” when the combat mission comes to an end.

The US currently has about 2,500 troops in Iraq. It is not known how many troops will stay in the country beyond 2021. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “the numbers will be driven by what is needed for the mission over time.”

Anti-US sentiment has been growing in Iraq since the assassination in January 2020 of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, along with the region’s legendary anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

They were targeted along with their companions on January 3, 2020 in a drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport.

Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that requires the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US.

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