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Iraq’s Sadr orders most fighters to disarm

Move comes after prominent Shia cleric and politician suspended his militia’s operations in Basra

Sibel Uğurlu   | 29.06.2018
Iraq’s Sadr orders most fighters to disarm

Ankara

By Hacer Baser

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s firebrand Shia cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr on Thursday ordered the disarmament of the Saraya al-Salam militia, his Sadrist movement’s military wing, in all areas except Samarra, Karbala and Baghdad.

In a statement, al-Sadr said the decision was taken for Iraq's general interests and to strengthen the government to be established, the army and the police.

Al-Sadr ordered Saraya al-Salam, or the Peace Brigades, to hand over the weapons they were given to fight the Daesh terrorist group to the Iraqi government and banned the group from launching any operation outside Iraq.

He said the current commanders of the group were all his advisers and had no other duties.

On Wednesday, al-Sadr ordered the suspension of his militia in Basra.

Al-Sadr’s political bloc won parliamentary elections in May, and he announced earlier this month that he had forged an alliance with the Fatah Coalition to form the biggest group in Iraq’s parliament.

But official results of the May 12 polls have been dogged by controversy and allegations of vote-rigging -- allegations dismissed by the leading coalitions.

On June 6, parliament voted in favor of amending Iraq’s election law, allowing votes to be recounted manually, and a recount is currently underway.

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