Iraq’s top Shiite Cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on the Iraqi government to rush to the aid of Sunni tribes battling the ISIL, after the terrorist group executed at least 220 tribesmen West of Baghdad.
“The Iraqi government is required to… offer quick support to the sons of this tribe and other tribes that are fighting Daesh (ISIL) terrorists,” Sistani said, in an address read out by an aide in the holy city of Kerbala after Friday prayers.
“This will offer the opportunity to the other tribes to join the fighters against Daesh,” he said.
At least 220 bodies of men from the Albu Nimr tribe, who had been seized by the ISIL days earlier, were found, in Anbar province on Thursday. They had been shot at close range.
Most of the dead in the mass graves were either police officers or members of a group called Sahwa (Awakening) that was set up to fight al-Qaeda.
Last month, Ayatollah Sistani, 84, met with the Iraqi prime minister in a sign of support for his newly-formed government and its struggle against the ISIL terrorist group.
The Iraqi state TV said that the Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, arrived in Najaf on October 20 and met the Supreme Religious Authority upon his arrival and Ayatollah Sistani received Abadi at his residence.
The meeting had great significance because Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had shunned many politicians in the past years in protest at the way they run the country.
Al-Sistani lives in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) South of Baghdad, and rarely appears in public. Al-Abadi’s newly formed Cabinet is striving to push the ISIL terrorists out of the sprawling territory they have seized in recent months.