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Jihadists must be expelled from Iraq now, says top Shi'ite cleric

Published on Jun 20, 2014 6:59 PM
 
Iraqi Shi'ite tribesmen brandish their weapons and a poster of Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on June 17 2014, in the southern Shi'ite Muslim shrine city of Najaf. Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said on Friday, June 20, 2014 that Sunni jihadists who have overrun swathes of territory must be expelled from the country before it is too late. -- PHOTO: AFP 

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said on Friday that Sunni jihadists who have overrun swathes of territory must be expelled from the country before it is too late.

If the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is not "fought and expelled from Iraq, everyone will regret it tomorrow, when regret has no meaning," his spokesman announced on his behalf in the shrine city of Karbala.

The spokesman said Iraqis of all religions and communities had to band together to fight militants, led by ISIL but including other groups, such as loyalists of late dictator Saddam Hussein.

He said a previous call by Grand Ayatollah Sistani for Iraqis to join the armed forces "was for all citizens, without specifying a religion," clearly outlining a cross-sectarian push.

 
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