Iraq lodges complaint with USA over Israel embassy move

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Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. would formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying it's time to "acknowledge the obvious" as he ordered the State Department to begin moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital could incite extremists in the region - making conditions "favorable to terrorism" against US targets, Iraq's government warned Thursday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he warned Trump of the "dangerous consequences" of such a move on security, the peace process, and stability in the region.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday sent a diplomatic note to Washington to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision one day earlier to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "The US administration has to backtrack on this decision to stop any unsafe escalation that would fuel extremism and create conditions favorable to terrorism".

Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemned the decision and called on the "Umma", or Islamic nation, to unite its efforts and reclaim Jerusalem.

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"By taking this kind of irrational decisions, US President Donald Trump is actually showing his imprudent politics, fascist behaviour and enmity against Muslims", the statement said.

"But it won't change the reality that Jerusalem is an occupied land which should return to the sovereignty of its Palestinian owners no matter how long it takes", it said.

As Matt Lee, a diplomatic reporter for the Associated Press, noted on Twitter, such a warning was issued in 2003 after the start of the Iraq War when the State Department believed an attack against USA citizens by Al Qaeda was imminent.

The US, which is leading a large-scale operation against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Iraq, has about 5,200 troops in the country, according to the latest statement from the US Defense Department. Though made up of Iraqis, it is backed by Iran and is helping Tehran create a supply route through Iraq to Damascus.

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