Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Influential Shia cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called for the formation of a “special force” to retake Jerusalem as a response to intentions declared by U.S. President Donald Trump to relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli-Palestinian disputed capital.
In a statement attributed to his office on Tuesday, al-Sadr, a central political and militancy player, who for sometime following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq was branded an enemy to the United States, urged the closure of the U.S. embassy in Iraq should the United States proceed with the announced plan.
Listing a number of reactions he believes should be taken in response to Trump’s declaration, al-Sadr urged Arab and Islamic nations to close all Israeli and American embassies on their soil “at least temporarily”.
Sadr also criticized the Arab League, calling upon the organization to either “quit or disband” if it fails to adopt a “serious stance” to confront what he described as “that flagrant challenge”.
Israel and Palestinians have for long adhered to Jerusalem, consecrated by both Jews and Muslims, as their own capital. Israel annexed the Arab eastern half of the city in 1967 , a move unrecognized by world countries, including the United States.
But Trump’s declared pledge- both during his candidacy and after his inauguration last Friday- to relocate the American embassy has served as a symbolic American support for Israel’s claim to the holy city.