Baghdad, Jan 7 (ANI): Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric whose soldiers had earlier battled with the American forces, has urged his followers to resist the United States "with all means" in his first public address in Iraq after four years in exile.
"Let the whole world hear that we reject America. No, no to the occupier. We don't kill Iraqis - our hands do not kill Iraqis. We target only the occupier with all the means of resistance," express.co.uk quoted al-Sadr, as saying during his 35-minute speech.
He also urged the newly formed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to make sure that all US forces leave Iraq by the end of the year as planned, and warned that "we have the political means" to reject that government if it fails to provide security and services to its citizens.
According to a security agreement between Washington and Baghdad, all US forces would be out of Iraq by the end of the year.
Although both al-Maliki and Barack Obama's administration have maintained that the roughly 50,000 US troops would leave by the scheduled time, officials in both nations have expressed concern that Iraq is not yet ready to protect its borders from possible invasion.
The cleric further insisted that the US, Israel and Britain were their "common enemies".
"The new government must work to get the occupier out of the country, in a suitable way. We heard a pledge from the government in this regard, and we are waiting for it to honour its word," al-Sadr added. (ANI)