An extremist group’s declaration of an Islamic state in territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria poses a threat to the entire region, Iraq’s prime minister warned Wednesday, saying that “no one in Iraq or any neighbouring country will be safe from these plans.’’
The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria announced this week that it has unilaterally established a caliphate in the areas under its control. It declared the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of its new self-styled state governed by Shariah law and demanded that all Muslims pledge allegiance to him.
Meanwhile, up to 45 people were killed in clashes between Iraqi security forces and followers of a radical cleric in the holy Shia city of Karbala Wednesday, security sources said, signalling divisions among Shia factions as a Sunni insurgency rages.
The clashes erupted when police and army personnel tried to arrest Shia cleric Mahmoud al-Sarkhi around midnight on Tuesday in Karbala, sources said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the militant group’s announcement “is a message to all the states in the region that you are inside the red circle now.’’
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In what appeared to be a bid to peel away some of ISIS’s allies among Iraq’s Sunni tribes, al-Maliki offered an amnesty “for all tribes and people who got involved in any act against the state.’’