Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN)– The Iraqi Shiite leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, addressed the Popular Mobilization Forces, warning that “the reputation of jihad and the mujahideen is at stake”, in a message from him hours after the authorities released a leader in the crowd.
Al-Sadr said, via his Twitter account: “Whoever offends someone who belongs to you, do not support him, rather blame him, and if he returns, punish him. We do not claim infallibility.”
Al-Sadr added: “We, the Mujahideen, were not created for the world, nor were we created for chairs, authority and domination. Rather, we were created for the sake of the homeland and the people.”
The Popular Mobilization Forces are military groups, the majority of whose members are Shiites, that enjoy the support of the government with its formation during the ISIS invasion of large swathes of Iraq in 2014.
Al-Sadr’s statements come hours after the Iraqi authorities released, earlier on Wednesday, the leader of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Anbar Province, Qassem Musleh, days after his arrest.
Reports said that Musleh was being investigated over the accusations that he was accused of killing activists and targeting bases housing US forces.
The Balad Air Base, which US forces bombed, on Wednesday evening, in addition to the Victoria Military Base, in the vicinity of Baghdad Airport, was attacked by three drones, according to the Security Media Cell of the Iraqi army.