Friday, April 25, 2008

Al-Sadr threatens 'open war' on 'occupiers,' not Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened "open war," against the American "occupiers" and not the Iraqi government, according to a letter read by a top aide during Friday prayers.

"When we threatened to declare an open war until the liberation, we meant war against the occupier," al-Sadr said in his letter. "There is no war between us and our Iraqi brothers -- no matter what their nationality, race or sect. The blood of Iraqis are forbidden on you."

He encouraged not only his Mehdi Army militia to fight U.S. troops, but also every Iraqi, including the nation's security forces which are in league with U.S. troops.

"I direct my speech to all government security forces and others, and all the religious and political forces, if this open war is between us and the occupier, you should not interfere in the favor of the occupier," the letter said. "We want to liberate you and your lands from the occupiers, so our government would be a full sovereign government."

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