Shia cleric Sadr threatens British soldiers in Iraq

Shia cleric Sadr threatens British soldiers in Iraq
Days after calling on his supporters to target US troops deployed in Iraq, prominent Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has now issued threats to British soldiers in the country.
2 min read
24 July, 2016
Moqtada al-Sadr has the support of tens of thousands of Iraqis [Getty]
Shia Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has issued a new threat to foreign troops in Iraq, saying that he would deal with British soldiers and their advisors "as enemies and occupiers," just two days after a similar threat was made to US forces in the country. 

"They are united over their sin and we are divided over our virtue," the cleric said.

"We have fought each other in a way that made it easier for the enemy to occupy and subjugate us. Yet they shall not humiliate us... They shall not be liberated, and we will treat them as occupiers," he added. 

This month US Defence Secretary Ash Carter 
announced that his country will send a further 560 US soldiers to help support the offensive to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State [IS] group.

The new troops will bring the total number of US soldiers in Iraq to around 4,650.

Sadr, who has the support of tens of thousands of Iraqis, had fought US troops during their 2003 invasion of Iraq with the Mahdi Army.

The Mahdi Army was disbanded in 2008 and replaced by the Peace Brigades, who fought under a government-led umbrella group to ward off IS militants from the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad in 2014.

The Shia cleric is also heading a protest movement against the Iraqi government calling for reform and an end to corruption.

His supporters broke into Baghdad's fortified Green Zone area in April, storming the parliament.

Other Iran-backed Shia armed groups also pledged to fight US soldiers in Iraq, but the only casualties American forces have suffered since returning to the country in 2014 have been at the hands of IS militants.