BAGHDAD, Iraq – Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged Sunnis and Shiites on Friday to unite so that Muslims can defeat Israel -- even without weapons. He predicted the Jewish state will collapse like the twin towers in New York in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Al-Sadr, a strong critic of the United States, condemned Israel's attacks on Lebanon during a speech in the southern city of Kufa. He urged the international community to act quickly "to stop Israel's terrorism against Lebanon."
"We promise you all that we will not forget our people in Lebanon despite our suffering from the American occupation. I will continue defending my Shiite and Sunni brothers and I tell them that if we unite, we will defeat Israel without the use of weapons," he said.
"I want to remind you of a very important thing. The collapse of the World Trade Center towers in America" was almost five years ago, al-Sadr said. "The same way America's idol collapsed, another idol will fall, and it is called Israel."
He said Israel's actions in Lebanon were the result of "boundless spite" and that Israelis "do not differentiate between a child, a woman or a civilian installation.
"It is the greatest form of terrorism," al-Sadr said.
In Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Sadr City, dozens of al-Sadr's supporters marched in the streets wearing black uniforms and chanting slogans in support of the leader of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah.
"Who fought against Israel," chanted some of the members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. "Only Hassan Nasrallah," responded another group.
"Mahdi Army and Hezbollah will remain hand in hand to protect the religion," read one banner carried by the group.
Later, people stomped on American and Israeli flags before setting them on fire.