“I apologize to people of Iraq” Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says

File – Iraqi Shia Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr apologized to the people of Iraq on Tuesday and gave them one hour to leave the parliament building and Baghdad’s Green Zone after nearly a day of deadly clashes in the Iraqi capital.

Amid escalating the armed clashes in Baghdad between pro-Sadr supporters and other Shiite rival groups, Sadr delivered an urgent message in Najaf’s Hanana, apologizing to the Iraqi people.

“I apologize to the people of Iraq,” Sadr said. And adding, “The murders and those who died in the recent armed conflicts are currently in hell.”

While delivering the message Sadr also gave his supporters one hour to leave the parliament building and Baghdad’s Green Zone threatening to leave the movement unless they do so.

“This is not a revolutionary (anymore) because it has lost its peaceful character,” Sadr said in the televised speech. “The spilling of Iraqi blood is forbidden,” he added.

Sadr’s supporters stormed Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in protest of Sadr’s withdrawal from politics that later turned into violent armed clashes.

“I give a one-hour deadline to leave the Green Zone otherwise I have no with you,” Sadr told his supporters.

“I am just an ordinary Iraqi citizen I will no more interfere in politics,” Sadr answered a question asked by a reporter regarding his next step during delivering the message.

Soon after the message, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi showed appreciation for Sadr’s latest stance, saying it was the highest level of patriotism.

“Sadr’s call to stop violence is the highest form of patriotism and respect to the sanctity of Iraqi blood, ” Kadhimi in a statement said.

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