Sadr to form new armed group to fight US forces

Sadr said the group will direct its operations against US forces and will be banned from fighting Iraqis.

Sadr to form new armed group to fight US forces

Iraq's Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr announced on Friday that he plans to form a new armed group to fight US forces in Iraq.

In a statement issued to his nearly 60,000 strong Mahdi Army militia, the anti-American cleric said the fight against US forces will now be waged only by the new group.

"The resistance will be carried out exclusively by a special group which I will announce later," Sadr said in a statement which was read out at a mosque in the holy Shiite town of Kufa.

"We will keep resisting the occupier until the liberation of Iraq or our martyrdom."

Sadr said the group will direct its operations against US forces and will be banned from fighting Iraqis.

"This group will be professional and it will be the only group carrying arms which will be directed against the occupier. It will be banned from using arms against any Iraqis."

Sadr's Mahdi Army has regularly clashed with US forces since the March 2003 invasion that toppled the Sunni-led regime of Saddam Hussein.

In 2004, Sadr led two insurgents against American occupation troops from the holy city of Najaf.

Last year in August he suspended Mahdi Army activities after allegations his fighters were engaged in a bloody battle in the Shiite city of Karbala during a major festival.

Agencies

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2008, 18:19
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