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Iraq’s top Shiite cleric says fight against Islamic State should be expanded

October 02, 2015, 15:52 UTC+3 KUWAIT CITY

The whole world should fight against this evil because terrorists are against humanity, against culture and morals, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani says

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© AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed

KUWAIT CITY, October 2. /TASS/. The fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization requires joining efforts of all interested parties, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said on Friday.

"It is important to unite efforts for countering IS and expand the scale of the fight against this group," he stressed. "The fight against Islamic State is the destiny of all Iraqis. However, it is not only their fight. The whole world should fight against this evil because terrorists are against humanity, against culture and morals," al-Sistani said.

Al-Sistani’s speech comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s statement that Russia can expand its airstrikes to Iraq if Moscow and Baghdad reach a relevant agreement. "This is possible. If such a proposal is made to us, we will consider it, and I will welcome it," al-Abadi told France 24 TV channel.

Earlier this week, Russian Federation Council unanimously granted permission to the Russian president to use the nation’s military force in Syria. "The Federation Council unanimously supported the president’s request — 162 votes in favor [of granting permission]," Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov said. Russia will use only its Air Force in Syria IS upon the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Ivanov said, stressing that no ground troops will be sent.

Russian Aerospace Defense Forces started delivering targeted strikes against IS facilities on Wednesday, September 30. Russian Defense Ministry reported that eight facilities were targeted during daytime and four more at night yesterday. More than 20 sorties were made during daytime and eight more at night.

Modernized Su-24M and Su-25 fighter jets are deployed in the aviation unit of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces formed in Syria, Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told journalists on Thursday. He stressed that all strikes were made after air reconnaissance and update of data obtained from the Syrian army headquarters. Aircraft armaments were not used to hit civil infrastructure facilities or areas near them.

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