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Iraqi Cleric Sistani Calls For Global War Against IS

Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite cleric has called for a global war against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

"Battle with [IS] is destined for all Iraqis," said Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, speaking through an aide after nationally televised Friday Prayers.

"But it's not their battle alone but the whole world, because terrorists target with their dark ideology all humanity, its culture and morals. So it is necessary to expand the world's efforts against terrorism from all directions."

Sistani's statement comes one day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said his government would welcome Russian air strikes against IS in Iraq.

The United States already for more than a year has led air strikes against IS in Iraq, as well as in Syria.

Russia began bombing raids in Syria September 30.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa