The Iraqi government has decided to cut the number of state-financed paramilitary forces due to a shortage of funds as the international oil price declines, a spokesman for a leading predominantly Shiite militia group said Thursday.

Karim al-Nouri, the spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group made up mostly of Shiite militias, told The Associated Press that around 30 per cent of paramilitary troops were expected to be laid off. Some 130,000 fighters in Iraq are affiliated with pro-government paramilitary forces.

The decision would not affect the fight against the Islamic State group, which controls large areas in northern and western Iraq, al-Nouri also said, adding that the cuts will also cover non-combat troops providing administrative and logistical support. He did not give details on how many combat troops will be laid off. […]