Thu Apr 3, 2008 9:53am EDT
By Peter Graff and Ahmed Rasheed
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Thursday for 1 million Iraqis to march against U.S. "occupation" next week after his Mehdi Army militia battled U.S. and government troops.
The government said it would not attempt to block the march if it was peaceful although Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who ordered a crackdown on militia in the southern city of Basra last week, threatened more strikes against Sadr's strongholds.
A statement released by Sadr's office in the holy city of Najaf called on Iraqis of all sects to descend on the southern city, site of annual Shi'ite pilgrimages that attract hundreds of thousands of worshippers.
"The time has come to express your rejections and raise your voices loud against the unjust occupier and enemy of nations and humanity, and against the horrible massacres committed by the occupier against our honorable people," it said. Read On