A senior member of an Iraqi Shiite militia that once fought the U.S. military says Iraq is heading toward widespread sectarian bloodletting similar to the kind that once pushed the country to the brink of civil war.

Adnan Faihan of the political bureau of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group said Wednesday that the militia intends to prepare for such a development.

Faihan however denied that his group was behind recent attacks against Sunnis that are part of the spiral of violence gripping Iraq, the most sustained since the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal.

Years ago, Asaib Ahl al-Haq — or the Band of the Righteous — broke away from radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's political bloc and has been trying to morph into a legitimate political movement.