Al-Sadr warns ISIL against attacking Iraq’s Shia cities

Influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has warned the ISIL Takfiri group against any attacks on Iraq’s Shia-majority cities and religious sites.

The senior Shia cleric made the remarks in a statement released on Wednesday in response to a purported message by ISIL leader Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he threatened the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Karbala with new attacks.

“If you touch our sacred shrines and cities, we will make Iraq full of your grimy bodies,” Sadr said in the statement.

The Security Committee of Baghdad Provincial Council released a statement on Tuesday, announcing that there is no security concern in the capital, Baghdad, with the presence of the Popular Mobilization forces, which comprise Shia volunteers, Kurdish newspaper Rudaw reported. The Iraqi security committee added that at least 60,000 Popular Mobilization volunteer forces are protecting Iraq’s capital.

“Those who claim they would attack our cities, they must expect a very tough battle,” Sadr added.

Iraqi security forces and volunteer Shia fighters, known as the Popular Mobilization forces, gather in the central city of Samarra, March 5, 2015. (© AFP)

The Shia cleric called on Iraqi forces to protect the holy Shia sites in Iraq against ISIL attacks.

ISIL Takfiris have recently taken over parts of the city of Ramadi in the western Iraqi province of Anbar.

The president of the Anbar Provincial Council, Sabah Karhoot, said on Tuesday that Iraqi security forces are in control of as much as 30 percent of Ramadi.

Popular Mobilization forces have been deployed to the city to fight the Takfiris. The Shia volunteer forces, one of the volunteer groups who have joined the Iraqi army, were dispatched to Anbar after Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on them to join the fight to drive Takfiri militants out of Ramadi.

The United Nations said on Monday that ISIL’s recent attacks on Ramadi have forced approximately 25,000 people to flee the city, adding that most people escaping the Takfiri group’s brutalities are heading toward Baghdad.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been in chaos since ISIL started its campaign of terror in early June 2014. Since then, Iraq’s army has been joined by Kurdish forces as well as Shia and Sunni volunteers in operations to drive the ISIL terrorists out of the areas they have seized.

By Press TV