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Iraqi Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr Calls For Attacks On U.S. Troops In Iraq

July 21, 2016

One of the leading Shiite clerics in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, said Wednesday that

“[T]he forces of the American army that are helping the army of Iraq liberate Mosul from ISIS are the target that we must hit.”

The head of the Saraya al-Salam militia made the comment in response to questions from followers on his Internet site.  The statement came several days after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that 560 more troops are to be sent to Iraq.  It’s speculated that al-Sadr, whom is supported by Tehran, made the threat because he wants two pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias, the Badr Corps and the Popular Mobilization Forces, to join the fighting against ISIS in Mosul.

Sadr, who commands the loyalty of tens of thousands of supporters, is also leading a protest movement that saw demonstrators storm Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone government district twice this year, hampering parliament for weeks.  Other Shi’ite militias, particularly those backed by Iran, have made similar pledges to attack U.S. soldiers in the past year, but the only casualties since American forces returned to Iraq to battle Islamic State two years ago have come at the hands of the Sunni militant group.