BAGHDAD (Dispatches) -- Amid threats of U.S. airstrikes on Iraq’s anti-terrorism resistance groups, Kata’ib Hezbollah on Tuesday reiterated its readiness to end the U.S. military presence in the Arab country, saying all weapons should be pointed at America’s positions on Iraqi soil.
In a statement, senior Kata’ib Hezbollah commander Abu Ali al-Askari said the resistance group is prepared to keep up its armed resistance to the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
The statement called on all resistance forces to continue to identify, deploy to, and take aim directly and indirectly at the interests of the enemy and its bases and military equipment.
Askari asked the Iraqi forces to be in a state of maximum readiness so that nothing will be left of the enemy, if the need arises, saying the only thing that could save them will be political movements leading to a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
The Iraqi security official further urged resistance fighters to keep an eye on Israeli delegations that constantly visit some U.S. bases in Iraq.
He said Kata’ib Hezbollah should prepare daily reports to inform Iraqis about the Israeli-American intrusions of the Iraqi airspace.
Weekly reports should also be prepared to reveal sabotage activities of the American enemy and its spy services and to disclose the true number of U.S. troops, their weapons and movements, he added.
Askari pointed to an earlier statement by Iraqi resistance groups, which announced a halt to military operations against U.S. and foreign forces in Iraq to allow them to leave the Arab country, emphasizing that the "conditional opportunity” given to the enemy would end.
An array of Iraqi militia groups asked Iraq’s government to present a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops, one of the groups said on Sunday.
A spokesman for Kata’ib Hezbollah, one of the most powerful anti-terror groups in Iraq, said they were presenting no set deadline, but that if U.S. troops "insisted on staying” they would unleash attacks.
Washington, which is slowly reducing its 5,000 troops in Iraq, threatened last month to shut its embassy unless the Iraqi government reins in anti-terror militias that have been vital to defeating Daesh and protecting the country from threats.
The U.S. announcement was interpreted by some Iraqis as a step towards airstrikes, potentially turning Iraq into a new battleground, while others said it was a bluff to browbeat the country into submission.
"The factions have presented a conditional ceasefire,” Kata’ib Hezbollah spokesman Muhammad Mohi told Reuters. "It includes all factions of the (anti-U.S.) resistance, including those who have been targeting U.S. forces.”
On Saturday, militia groups calling themselves the "Iraqi Resistance Coordination Commission” published a statement suggesting they would suspend attacks in return for a clear plan for U.S. troops to leave. Mohi did not specify which groups had drafted the statement.
He said the Iraqi government must implement a parliamentary resolution in January calling for foreign troops to withdraw.
Iraqis are still reeling from U.S. assassination of the Middle East’s legendary anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad airport in January.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi leader of anti-terror militias, was also martyred. Factions that Gen. Soleimani and Muhandis commanded, including Kataib Hezbollah, swore to avenge them.
Mohi said there was no deadline for the government to expel foreign troops, but "if America insists on staying and doesn’t respect the parliament’s decision then the factions will use all the weapons at their disposal”.
Washington has so far refused to withdraw its troops, with President Donald Trump balking at the idea with the threat to seize Iraq’s oil money held in bank accounts in the U.S.
Kataiib Hezbollah is an anti-U.S. unit operating under the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, which includes more than 40 militia groups fighting takfiri terrorism