Iraq cleric Moqtada al-Sadr says crisis over, tells militias to stand down: Statement

A young boy holds a poster showing top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistan (left) and Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr during Friday prayers in Baghdad's Sadr City suburb. PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - Influential Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said on Wednesday (Jan 8) the crisis Iraq was experiencing is over following de-escalation rhetoric from both Iran and the US and called on militia groups not to carry out attacks.

A new strong Iraqi government able to protect the nation's sovereignty and independence should be formed in the next 15 days and usher in an early election, the populist cleric said in a statement, adding that Iraqis should still seek to expel foreign troops, however.

"I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted," he said.

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