BAGHDAD (AP) — A radical anti-American Shiite cleric is calling on U.S. troops in Iraq to leave the country and go back to their families or risk more attacks.
The rare statement by Muqtada al-Sadr was translated into English and posted Tuesday on his website.
In it, the powerful Iraqi cleric appeals directly to the roughly 46,000 U.S. troops still in the country. He says Iraq does not need their help.
The message comes as Iraqi officials mull whether to keep some U.S. troops past their December departure date. There is concern about a potential backlash if the U.S. military remains in the country.
Al-Sadr and his militia members have vowed to assault any American force that remains and have already been attacking American troops with rockets and bombs.