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Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr today called for the departure of a million Iraqis in a demonstration to condemn the “American presence and its violations” in Iraq, after Washington killed the commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, in an air strike in Baghdad.
The Iraqi parliament called last week for the American and other foreign forces to leave amid increasing reactions to the air strike launched by Washington, which also claimed the life of a leader in an Iraqi armed group.
In response to the killing of Soleimani, Iran launched a missile attack on American targets in Iraq, in a move that highlighted the fears of a wider conflict in the Middle East.
Al-Sadr said to his supporters on Twitter, “So they rose, Soldiers of God and Soldiers of the Country, to a united (million) peaceful demonstration condemning the American presence and its violations.”
He added, “The sky of Iraq, its land and its sovereignty are being violated by the invading forces.”
Sadr has a large number of supporters and has been able to mobilize hundreds of thousands in the streets of Baghdad in demonstrations in past years.
He did not disclose the date or location of the protests.
Thousands of Iraqis are still gathering in separate anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square that started on October 1, paving the way for clashes between rival groups.