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Iraq's Sadr Warns Of Backlash If U.S. Troops Stay Past Deadline

Female supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr march in Baghdad in May, with one holding a sign saying, "No, No to the Occupation!"
Prominent Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has warned of a backlash by way of "military means" if U.S. troops stay in the country past the December 31 deadline.

The cleric, known for his anti-American views, made the remarks after Iraqi officials last week said they were open to discussions about keeping some U.S. forces past the deadline for training purposes.

Seven ministers serving in Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's administration are tied to Sadr's movement, as well as 40 parliament deputies.

A 2008 security agreement between the United States and Iraq requires that the roughly 47,000 U.S. troops serving there leave by the end of this year.

compiled from agency reports