Influential Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has warned Islamic State (IS) militants against any attacks on Iraq’s Shi’ite-majority cities and religious sites in Iraq.
The Shiite leader made the remarks in a statement released on Wednesday in response to a purported message by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he threatened the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Karbala with new attacks.
“If you touch our sacred shrines and cities, we will make Iraq full of your grimy bodies,” Sadr said in the statement.
The Security Committee of Baghdad Provincial Council released a statement on Thursday, announcing that there is no security concern in the capital, Baghdad, with the presence of the Shi’ite militias Hashd al-Shaabi.
The Iraqi security committee added that at least 60,000 Shiite militias are protecting Iraq’s capital.
“Those who claim they would attack our cities, they must expect a very tough battle,” Sadr added.
The Shia cleric called on Iraqi forces to protect holy Shi’ite sites in Iraq against IS attacks.
Earlier this week IS militants took over the city of Ramadi in the western Iraqi province of Anbar.