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Shiite cleric warns that US troops will be attacked

Friday - 6/20/2014, 11:00am  ET

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A Shiite cleric in Iraq is warning that the 300 U.S. military advisers that President Barack Obama plans to send to Iraq will be attacked.

The cleric, Nassir al-Saedi, is loyal to the anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (mook-TAH'-duh ahl SAH'-dur), whose militia fought the Americans in at least two rounds of street warfare during the eight years U.S. troops were in Iraq.

At a sermon today in Baghdad's Sadr City district, al-Saedi issued a warning to what he called "the occupier," saying, "We will be ready for you if you are back."

Meanwhile, there's more pressure on Iraq's prime minister today -- with a call from the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite majority for a new "effective" government. The comments at Friday prayers contained thinly veiled criticism that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee) is to blame for the continuing offensive by Sunni militants.

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131-c-21-(Hamza Hendawi (HAHM'-zah hehn-DAH'-wee), AP correspondent)-"for all Iraqis"-AP correspondent Hamza Hendawi reports the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite majority has called for a new, effective government, increasing pressure on the country's prime minister as an offensive by Sunni militants rages on. (20 Jun 2014)

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132-c-16-(Hamza Hendawi (HAHM'-zah hehn-DAH'-wee), AP correspondent)-"and the Levant"-AP correspondent Hamza Hendawi reports the spiritual leader's comments came close to blaming Iraq's Shiite prime minister for the nation's latest crisis. (20 Jun 2014)

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GRAPHICSBANK: Al-Qaeda inspired militants stand with captured Iraqi Army Humvee at a checkpoint belonging to Iraqi Army, Beiji, Iraq, graphic element on gray (20 Jun 2014)

APPHOTO XKK113: An Iraqi boy wears a tiny replica of an army uniform as of followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attend open-air Friday prayers, in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, June. 20, 2014. The spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite majority called for a new, "effective" government Friday, increasing pressure on the country's prime minister as an offensive by Sunni militants rages on.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim (20 Jun 2014)

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