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US insists troops staying in Iraq, won’t bomb Iran cultural sites

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President Donald Trump sought Tuesday to end confusion over the future of American troops in Iraq, saying they should stay, despite fury there over the US killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad.

“At some point we want to get out, but this isn’t the right point,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Regardless of US efforts to clarify the troops’ future following an Iraqi parliament call for their exit, regional tension and uncertainty increased.

In the Iranian city of Kerman, more than 50 people died in a stampede by a crowd attending the funeral of slain Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, Iranian media reported.

The hugely influential figure was killed in a US drone strike on Friday near Baghdad’s international airport and had been due to be buried in his home town when the crowd got out of control.

The tragedy added to the sense of volatility triggered by Soleimani’s killing, with crowds in Iran chanting “death to America” and Tehran and Washington exchanging warnings of war.

US President Donald Trump says a US pullout from Iraq at this time would be the “worst thing” for the country

Trump, however, did walk back earlier threats to bomb Iranian cultural sites in the event of conflict — something that could be a war crime.

“If that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law,” Trump said.

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