Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi volunteers have responded to calls by the country’s highest religious authority to fight militants from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Iraqi volunteers have signed up at recruitment centers in different cities across the country in an effort to join the armed forces in their fight against the al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki expressed his appreciation during a speech on Thursday, for their resolve to help the government.
On Tuesday, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani also said that over two million people have taken up arms to back the government.
Political figures, clerics and tribal leaders are among those joining the fight against the so-called ISIL.
Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistan, encouraged volunteers to join the army and help the government.
Iraq is currently grappling with a deadly violence by Takfiri militants in the country.
Iraqi forces continue their battle against the ISIL Takfiri group as the militants are advancing in Iraq and threatening to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including the capital, Baghdad.
On June 10, the ISIL militants took control of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that the country’s security forces would confront the terrorists, calling the seizure of Mosul a “conspiracy.” The Iraqi premier has also blamed Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing Riyadh as a major supporter of global terrorism.