Iraq’s powerful Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has put his militia on alert to battle Islamic State militants for the city of Samarra, home to a Shi’ite mosque whose destruction eight years ago plunged the country into sectarian war.
Sadr’s office said the announcement was a response to the “exceptional conditions and imminent danger to the sacred city of Samarra from the legions of terrorists,” a reference to the Sunni Muslim Islamic State fighters who surround Samarra.
It said Sadr had ordered fighters of his Shi’ite ‘Peace Brigades’ to be “fully prepared to answer the call of jihad within 48 hours” and to await further instructions. The statement was dated Dec. 10.
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