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Iraq's Muqtada Al-Sadr warns of looming normalisation with Israel

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr delivers a statement in which he backed early elections overseen by the United Nations, in an extremely rare press conference outside his home in Iraq's holy city Najaf, on 10 February 2021. [ALI NAJAFI/AFP via Getty Images]
Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr delivers a statement in which he backed early elections overseen by the United Nations, in an extremely rare press conference outside his home in Iraq's holy city Najaf, on 10 February 2021. [ALI NAJAFI/AFP via Getty Images]

Leader of the Iraqi Sadrist Movement and prominent Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr said yesterday that his movement will not allow normalisation between Iraq and Israel, even if the price is "blood".

"Normalisation is at the door, and the parliament must prevent this. We will not allow normalisation at all, even if it costs us blood," Al-Sadr told reporters in the southern city of Najaf.

Al-Sadr did not provide further details, however, in January a new movement named October 25 was formed under the leadership of Secretary-General Talal Hariri who called to have good relations with Israel.

The Iraqi government, led by Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, has not issued a clear position on the movement's demand.

Iraq does not officially recognise Israel, and there are no relations between the two sides.

In October 2017, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution prohibiting raising the Israeli flag and punishing violators with imprisonment.

Last year, the UAE, Bahrain , Sudan and Morocco signed normalisation deals with Israel. At the time of the first announcements, Iraq declared that its laws prohibited it from normalising relations with the occupation state.

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