Report: State Department to Reduce Number of Staff in Iraq


WASHINGTON, DC — The State Department will reduce the number of staff stationed in Iraq.

CNN says a memo was sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month calling for staffing levels in Iraq to be reduced by 28% by the end of May.

The reduction would mean 114 fewer people at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and cuts in other agencies.

Since late October, ten rocket attacks in Iraq have targeted areas where U.S. soldiers and diplomats are stationed.

The latest attack in on the complex next to Baghdad International Airport last October left six Iraqi troops wounded.The U.S. blames the attacks on Iran-supported paramilitary groups.

This is the latest step taking by the U.S. government to halt violence in Iraq. Two weeks ago, the U.S. the Treasury Department targeted three Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders with sanctions.

Treasury says the three militia leaders were involved in serious human rights abuses in Iraq. The agency also blacklisted an Iraqi businessman for bribery and corruption.

In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Iraqi people want "genuine reform and accountability."

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