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Iraqi al-Sadr calls for US embassy closure over ties to Israel

Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded on Friday that the Iraqi government should close the US embassy in Baghdad in response to “unfettered support” for Israel.

If the government and parliament do not abide by this demand, we will go for further actions which we will later announce.

Millions of Iraqis support al-Sadr, who has amassed hundreds of thousands of supporters in the past, mostly working-class Shiite Muslims, in order to apply political pressure.

He differs from other Shiite leaders by opposing Iranian influence in Iraq. The populist leader has also called for the withdrawal of the remaining US troops in Iraq.

In June, Sadr’s loyalists stormed and set fire to the Swedish embassy in Baghdad in connection with the burning of the Koran in Sweden. Last year, he ordered his supporters to storm Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone, where government buildings and embassies are located, to occupy the parliament.

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