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Iraq’s Sadr warns to unleash Mehdi Army

February 26, 2020 at 3:29 am

Thousands of supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr stage a “silent” protest to demand the dissolution of Iraq’s High Electoral Commission at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq on 17 February 2017. [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

The leader of the Shi’ite Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada Al-Sadr, yesterday threatened to return his Al-Mehdi Army into the country.

Addressing what he described as “radical Sunni political leaders who want to return the booby traps,” Al-Sadr said that the Mehdi army was “frozen and not cancelled,” warning it would “return.”

Al-Sadr’s remarks came in an interview with Iraq’s Al-Sharqiya.

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Sadr disarmed his militia after former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s troops — backed by the United States (US) forces — defeated them in Baghdad and southern cities in 2008. His movement has since become a potent force in mainstream politics.

US and Iraqi security officials say Mehdi Army splinter groups still pose a security risk, emerging in the form of Shi’ite militia that Washington says are backed by Iran.