The leader of Iraq's Sadr movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, has called on Iraqi people to resist against the occupiers of their homeland by all means and "reject America."
During his first speech since returning to the holy city of Najaf after nearly four years away, Sadr said that the United States, Israel and Britain are "common enemies" of Iraqi people.
Sadr arrived at the Imam Ali (PBUH) Mosque in Najaf on Wednesday amid cheers from hundreds of supporters who took to the streets of al-Hanana neighborhood to celebrate their leader's return.
"We still resist the occupier, by military resistance, and all the means of resistance," he told the crowd of thousands of his followers, saying the Iraqi people should protect their countrymen, AFP reported.
"Our hand will not touch any Iraqi... we only target the occupier, by all means of resistance. We are one people. We don't agree with some groups that carry out assassinations," Sadr went on to say.
"Yes, yes for Moqtada! Yes, yes for the leader!" the crowd responded to Sadr while waving Iraqi flags.
The Iraqi cleric further called for unity and urged the nation to give the new government a chance to serve them.
Sadr's predominantly Shia bloc aired off a strong show of power in last year's parliamentary elections and later gave key support to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was finally re-elected and formed a new cabinet.
According to a deal between Sadr movement and Maliki, the group, with 39 seats in parliament, has been given seven ministerial posts in the cabinet.
Sadrist supporters from Baghdad, including top-ranking officials in his political faction, streamed to Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the capital, for the occasion.
His group said that Sadr is not visiting Iraq, but is back here to stay.