Shi'ite Fighters Make Show Of Force In Baghdad

June 21, 2014

Thousands of fighters loyal to powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have paraded in Baghdad in a show of force amid rising sectarian tensions. 

The fighters marched through the streets of Baghdad's Shi'ite neighborhood of Sadr City carrying grenade launchers and accompanied by heavy equipment.

The show of force by supporters of al-Sadr comes amid a continuing offensive by Sunni militants who have seized swates of territory in northern Iraq.

Reports say the militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on June 21 seized a border crossing on the Iraq-Syria border.

The militants were reportedly in full control of the Al-Qaim border crossing.

ISIL has exploited Sunni Arabs' anger at their perceived discrimination by the Shi'ite-led government to gain support.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP