Shia cleric says any UK troops in Iraq are 'invaders'

Britain plans to send 500 soldiers ahead of offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL

Shia cleric says any UK troops in Iraq are 'invaders'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Prominent Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has threatened to attack British troops planned to be sent to Iraq for an anticipated offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL.

Sadr said in a Sunday statement that the British troops would be considered as "invaders" if they took part in any operations in Iraq.

Last week, British defense minister Michael Fallon had said the U.K. would increase the number of the soldiers to be sent to Iraq to combat ISIL to 500.

In early July, Sadr said American soldiers would "be a target for us" after U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter declared that the Pentagon would send 560 more troops to Iraq.

Sadr, who has thousands of supporters, fought U.S. troops several times during the 2003 occupation of Iraq.

Iraqi forces are preparing to launch an offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL, which overran the northern city in early 2014.

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when ISIL captured Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Temmuz 2016, 12:01
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