Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for millions of Iraqis to turn out next week in massive anti-US protests, his office announced yesterday.
The march would take place in major centers across the country on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Iraq is tense after more than a week of clashes between security forces, in some cases backed by US troops, and Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.
A statement from Sadr's office in the central holy city of Najaf said all Iraqis, "Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Arabs, must express their rejection and raise their voice against the tyrant occupier" in protests on April 9.
It urged the participation of "millions" of Iraqis
"Express your rejection by participating in this demonstration. Carry Iraqi flags that show the unity of Iraq. Do not ignore this protest as it is for the glory of Islam and victory of the grieving Iraqi people," the statement said.
Meanwhile the Iraqi military says a suicide bomber has attacked a checkpoint near Mosul, killing seven people and wounding 12.
The US military confirms the Wednesday night attack but puts the toll at five dead and 19 wounded.