Thousands of Sunni Muslims have flocked to recruiting centers throughout Iraq to join the battle against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists, heeding a call to arms by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
As Iraqi army, along with volunteer militia, has stepped up its counter-attack against ISIL militants, the number of Sunni volunteers rushing to recruiting centers has gone up.
Volunteers formed human chains outside several recruiting centers in the capital Baghdad and other cities in a show of unity and solidarity with the Shia Muslims.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Iraqi tribal members as well as clerics in the holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq held rallies to express their support for the army’s fight against terrorists.
As the number of volunteers rises, several new recruiting centers have been set up across Iraq.
Basra governorate has allocated 40 million Iraqi dinar to equip volunteers fighting against ISIL terrorists, a provincial official said.
A senior provincial official in Basra estimated that more than one million citizens will volunteer to join the fight against terrorists.
On June 10, ISIL militants took control of Mosul, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced out of their homes since then.
The ISIL militants have vowed to continue their raid toward the capital Baghdad, but Iraqi forces and around 1.5 million volunteers succeeded in halting the terrorists’ advance and pushing the militants back.