The Mahdi Army consists of more then two hundred thousand fighters all over Iraq. They are distributed around Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, and Basra, as well as elsewhere in the country. The main purpose for the creation of the Mahdi Army is to support Imam Mahdi when he appears. The Sadr Movement established offices all over Iraq and in most of Baghdad’s neighborhoods, the main purpose of these offices is to recruit young Iraqis to join the Mahdi Army, in order to increase the control of the Mahdi Army within the capital.
Many Iraqis have been found dead after being tortured, they were found without identification. Many Iraqis have accused the Mahdi Army of killing these Iraqis. The reason for these accusations came after the blasts that destroyed the Imam Askariya Shrine. Many Shia militias related to the Mahdi Army threatened to avenge those explosions, and withing days of the attack, many Sunni Iraqis were kidnapped and found dead.
Some eyewitnesses claimed that the kidnappers wore a black uniform that is similar to the uniform of the Mahdi Army. Muqtada Al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadr Movement and the Mahdi Army declared in early 2007 that the Mahdi army is clean from killing any Iraqi Sunni in Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq, and there are groups taking the name of the Mahdi Army that have been recruited by a separate force from outside Iraq to keep the security situation unstable.
However, many families in Baghdad living in areas such as Al-Khadar’a, Ameriya, and Karrada have received death threats from groups such as ” Al-Hussein Brigades,” or “Sraiya Al-Imam Ali ” asking them either to leave theor house and move to another neighborhoods or face death, and both of these groups have been connected to the Mahdi Army.
The Iraqi government in the year 2007 asked the Mahdi Army to drop there weapons and become a non-armed group. The Sadr Movement refused to give up their weapons and they asked the Iraqi Government forces to remove their weapons from Basra in early 2008.
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