Image shows the aftermath of an explosion which targeted a group of Saraya al-Salam militias in front of an abandoned Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) office which was occupied by the group after the October 16 events in Kirkuk. Photo supplied to Rudaw by locals.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shiite cleric on Tuesday called upon his Saraya al-Salam militia group to pull out their forces from the city of Kirkuk within 72 hours.
“I am calling on the jihadists of Saraya al-Salam that they should leave Kirkuk and close all their offices within 72 hours,” Sadr ordered.
Sadr explained that the administrative affairs of Kirkuk as well as all the others “have to be handed over to the security forces.”
After Kirkuk fell to the Iraqi armed forces and the Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias in October, the Saraya al-Salam moved in and took over several offices, including the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) office which a bomb explosion on Monday targeted, killing five militiamen.
The call by Sadr contradicts past claims by the Shiite leaders who had said no militia group had stayed in Kirkuk after October 16.
Sarya al-Salam, like dozens of others, operates under the umbrella of the Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq.