Thousands of Armed Iraqis March for Jihad Against Israel
Some 5,000 Iraqis brandishing guns and wearing military fatigues marched through Baghdad on Monday declaring their readiness to wage a holy war or jihad on Israel.
"Jerusalem and Baghdad are linked through the blood of martyrdom," they shouted, and "Saddam Hussein is the standard-bearer of the liberation of Jerusalem."
The men and women were watched by numerous figures of the Iraqi political elite, including Ali Hassan al-Mansur, head of the ruling Baath party and a former defense minister.
Thousands of people watched the show of force, organized as part of celebrations marking the fifth anniversary of a referendum that overwhelmingly confirmed Saddam as president.
"All the levels of the Baath (party) are at Saddam Hussein's disposal to fight alongside the Palestinians ... and to leave for the jihad and the war for Palestine's liberation," said party official Lokman Awda al-Dallimi.
He strongly criticized the summit that began Monday in Egypt of trying to halt the Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Iraq's official media said some three million people have answered the government's call for volunteers to join the jihad, BAGHDAD (AFP)
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