Prominent Iraqi Sunni cleric Abdel Malik Al-Saadi called on Saturday for Iraqis to resist Baghdad’s attempts to retake the city of Fallujah, branding the Nouri al-Maliki government’s efforts “sectarian genocide.”

In a statement published Saadi said: “What Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is doing now is genocide, destruction and pillaging in Fallujah and Ramadi, and what the militias are doing in Diyala and Jarf Al-Sakhr is evidence that it is sectarian genocide, directed by Iran, and agreed on and supported by America,” according to sharq Al Awsat.

He added: “The aim is not to fight terrorism or what they call the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), because their presence does not require this level of violence and comprehensive genocide.”

In his statement, Saadi called on residents of Fallujah to resist the Iraqi security forces’ attempts to retake the city, to “defend themselves and help those defending them with money and weapons.”

“Stand firm and be patient, for victory is with the patient,” he said. “Whatever you do, do not attack those who are unarmed, whether they are from the army, the police, or otherwise.”

He added: “Maliki has insulted you everywhere . . . It is your duty according to the Shari’a to help those who are struggling [to defend you] and drive them to victory. Anyone who can fight or help, but willingly does not, is a sinner for ignoring one of his duties according to the Shari’a.”

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