Antony Blinken meets Iraqi PM on surprise visit to Baghdad

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani during a surprise visit to Baghdad, al-Sudani’s office said on Sunday.

The office did not provide further details on the meeting.

Al-Sudani is expected to visit Tehran on Monday as part of a regional tour, which will also include several Gulf capitals, to discuss escalation in Gaza, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

Antony Blinken visits West Bank as fierce fighting roils Gaza

Blinken has engaged in a round of shuttle diplomacy through the region. Since leaving Washington on Thursday, Blinken has visited Israel, Jordan – where he met leaders from several Arab countries – and the West Bank.
Earlier, Iraq’s pro-Iranian Kataib Hezbollah militia threatened to meet Blinken with “unprecedented escalation” if he visits Baghdad.

Blinken, “son of a Jew, and the Zionist minister of war,” was not welcome in Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah spokesman Abu Ali al-Askari said in a statement.

Al-Askari also said the militia would work to counter US interests in Iraq and prevent US citizens from travelling to the country if the aggression on Gaza continues.

The withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq is “inevitable,” he said.

Pro-Iranian militias in Iraq have repeatedly claimed to have hit US bases inside Iraq and Syria with drones and missiles in retaliation for the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

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