Moqtada al-Sadr has called for attacks on US troops in Iraq as a response to Washington's support for the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
"I call on the honest Iraqi resistance to carry out revenge operations against the great accomplice of the Zionist enemy,'' the influential leader of the Sadrist movement said in a Wednesday statement issued by his office in the city of Najaf.
The cleric also urged world leaders to close down Israeli embassies. He asked the Iraqi people to raise Palestinian flags on mosques, churches, and buildings in a show of support for those under attack in Gaza.
A spokesman for the US State Department, however, said that it was 'outrageous' to attack Americans because of what is going on in the region.
"Any call for attacks against Americans is outrageous,'' deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters.
This is while the US has used its special veto power at the UN Security Council to block three separate motions that called for an end to the recent Israeli onslaught in Gaza, which has caused over 710 Palestinian deaths in less than two weeks.
Sadr's office released the cleric's statements just hours before Tel Aviv extended its military offensive to Lebanon, by raiding southern parts of the country.
Tel Aviv said that it was launching the attack in response to rocket fire from Hezbollah. Hezbollah, however, dismissed the claim and said that it had not fired any rockets into Israel.
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