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Shia militia show of force in Iraq

It was an impressive show of force. Thousands of Shi'ite Iraqis, wearing military fatigues, parade through the streets of Bagdad. The men carry rocket-propelled grenades and rifles. They're also accompanied by some serious military hardware. These fighters, are here urged on by a call from the powerful cleric Muqtda al-Sadr, who has thousands of followers. They're showing that they're ready to fight if they have to. Since the militant Sunni group ISIL seized a number of towns and cities in the past week there's been fierce fighting and heavy bloodshed in northern Iraq. Sadr has yet to throw his fighters into the recent wave of fighting but he's criticised the Iraqi Shi'ite government for mishandling the crisis. This demonstration of strength, though, will only raise sectarian tensions at at time when the government is under pressure to rally the country together against the insurgents, threatening to tear the country apart.

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