Iraqi Shi'ite leader calls for restraint in assault on Falluja

May 25, 2016 12:13

BAGHDAD - Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric urged the forces battling to retake Falluja from Sunni militants Islamic State to spare civilians trapped in the city located just west of Baghdad.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani added his voice to the many calls for restraint in the battle launched on Monday to recapture Falluja, the first Iraqi city to fall under the control of the ultra-hardline Islamists, in January 2014.

"Sayyid Sistani reaffirms his recommendations that the ethics of jihad (Islamic holy war or struggle) be respected," his representative, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, said in a statement.

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