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Iraq: Cleric Urges ‘Revenge Operations’ Against U.S. Over Gaza

Urges Palestinian flags be raised on mosques, churches and buildings in show of solidarity

US puppet Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and anti-U.S. Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr emerge from their meeting in Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Wednesday Oct. 18, 2006. Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is the founder and is said by the US to be the leader of Iraq's most feared militia, the Mahdi Army. Picture: AP/Alaa al-Marjani
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr emerge from a meeting in Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, in this October 2006 file photograph. (Photo credit: Alaa al-Marjani / AP)

January 7, 2009

NAJAF, Iraq — Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on the Iraqi resistance Wednesday to stage “revenge operations” against American forces to protest Israel’s Gaza offensive.

The statement issued by his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf came as criticism is mounting over civilian deaths in Gaza. …

Al-Sadr also urged that Palestinian flags to be raised on mosques, churches and buildings in Iraq in a show of solidarity and that all countries close Israeli embassies.

The cleric issued a statement last month calling for protests, and his followers have complied with rallies against the offensive.

But he said more steps are needed “due to the continuation of Arab silence and the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy under U.S. and international cover.”

“I call upon the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy,” he said, using rhetoric referring to the United States and Israel.

Al-Sadr and his militiamen have been staunch opponents of the U.S. presence in Iraq, with fierce battles in 2004. He ordered his fighters to stand down in 2007 but said he would retain a smaller fighting force as long as U.S. troops remain in Iraq. …

Palestinian and U.N. figures show that about 300 of the more than 670 Palestinians killed so far have been civilians.

Israel has lost six soldiers since launching a ground offensive on Saturday — four of them in “friendly fire” incidents — and four other Israelis have been killed by rocket fire, three of them civilians, since fighting began on Dec. 27.


Late update

Tens of Thousands of Iraqis March Against Israel, U.S.

Turkish demonstrators chant Islamic slogans as they set fire to an Israeli flag during a protest against Israeli strikes on Gaza Strip outside of the Beyazit mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 9, 2009. (Photo: Murad Sezer / AP)

January 9, 2009

BAGHDAD — Tens of thousands of Iraqis protested against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip on Friday and powerful Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for revenge attacks on the Jewish state’s strongest ally the United States.

Protesters waved Palestinian flags and burned Israeli and U.S. flags in the Baghdad Shi’ite slum of Sadr City after Friday prayers. Smaller protests were held and anti-Israeli sermons delivered in the Sunni Adhamiya district, the Sunni city of Falluja and the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf.

“Death to Israel, death to America, Israel’s partner in attacking Gaza,” the Sadr City crowd chanted, after a message from Sadr was read to them, calling for solidarity with Gaza. …

Israel says it wants to stop rockets fired into its territory by Hamas militants who control Gaza. Medical officials said the Palestinian death toll had risen to at least 783, more than a third children. Ten Israeli soldiers have been killed and Palestinian rockets have killed three Israeli civilians.

“I call on the noble uprising to carry out revenge operations against the biggest partner of the Zionist enemy, to be hand in hand with the noble Palestinian uprising,” Sadr said in a speech read by his representatives at Friday prayers.

The United States has traditionally been Israel’s strongest supporter, and has backed the Gaza offensive.

Sadr has huge popular support in Iraq and commands the powerful Mehdi Army militia, which has fought fierce battles with U.S. forces since they invaded Iraq in 2003 but has largely been disbanded over the past year. …

Last month, Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemned what he called the “savage” Israeli operation. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani have also condemned it.

Iraq hosted some 30,000 Palestinian refugees before the U.S.-led invasion. Many of them found themselves victim of attacks of threats once the war began, partly because they were seen as clients of the deposed leader Saddam Hussein.

Gaza Crisis

Latest News & Video of the Conflict in Gaza from CNN


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Jan. 8, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

NEAR TUZ KHURMATO – Gunmen shot dead the head of the Badr organization, a powerful Shi’ite group, in Amerli district near Tuz Khurmato, 105 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

NORTHERN IRAQ – A U.S. soldier died on Tuesday of wounds he received when shot by militants in northern Iraq, the Department of Defense said. The U.S. military had no immediate further details of the circumstances or place of the incident.

NEAR JALAWLA – Two roadside bombs exploding in quick succession killed five Iraqi soldiers and wounded another eight overnight while they were on patrol in a village near Jalawla, 70 miles north of Baghdad, at around midnight, police said. One of the dead was an officer.

NEAR HAWIJA – A roadside bomb killed two soldiers and wounded two when it struck their convoy near Hawija, 130 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb wounded two municipality cleaners on Wednesday in central Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Iraqi police found the body of a man in western Mosul on Wednesday, police said.


Af/Pak Update

Pakistan: CIA missile reportedly kills top al-Qaida operatives

Image: Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam
Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam
(FBI photo)

Afghanistan: Attack on U.S. patrol in Afghanistan kills 5

5 Responses to “Sadr Urges ‘Revenge Operations’”
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