Iraq: Al-Sadr threatening to resume attacks against American forces
Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr on Friday renewed threats to resume attacks on American forces, as Iraq's top Shiite cleric was quoted as saying he would intervene if a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security pact infringed on Iraqi sovereignty.
Al-Sadr's threat came in a statement by the Iran-based cleric that was read to supporters gathered for Friday prayers in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City enclave and the city of Kufa, south of Baghdad. "I repeat my call on the occupier to get out from the land of our beloved Iraq, without retaining bases or signing agreements," al-Sadr said, according to the AP. "If they do stay, I urge the honorable resistance fighters ... to direct their weapons exclusively against the occupier."
In Friday's statement, al-Sadr's statement also called on supporters to gather next week for prayers in a central Baghdad square in a show of opposition to the U.S.-Iraqi pact. Tens of thousands of al-Sadr supporters assembled in Baghdad last month to show they oppose the agreement.
In the holy city of Najaf, an official close to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said the Iranian-born cleric has vowed to "directly intervene" if the final version of the pact breached the country's sovereignty. He has in the past forced the United States to scrap or revise political blueprints for Iraq, sending hundreds of thousands of supporters to the streets in 2004 to back his demand for a general election. The vote was held in January 2005.