Shiites protecting shrines in Iraq city - KCTV5

Shiites protecting shrines in Iraq city

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The national government is relying on help from Shiite militias to help defend territory and religious sites. (Source: CBS) The national government is relying on help from Shiite militias to help defend territory and religious sites. (Source: CBS)

BAGHDAD (CBS) – ISIS insurgents claim pictures show its gunmen and local residents celebrating the capture of Iraq's largest oil refinery at Beiji.

But on Tuesday, Iraq's army released its own video of an airstrike that it said defeated the militants.

But while government forces are trying to show they're on the offensive, there is no denying that they are increasingly relying on Shiite volunteers who answered a call to jihad by the country's top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The holy Shiite city of Kerbala is where that order - or fatwa - was issued.

Security is tight in Kerbala because the two Kerbala shrines are some of the holiest in Shi'a Islam. And in a time of renewed sectarian violence that makes them targets. ISIS has vowed to destroy them.

Sayyed Afdul al Shamey is an aide to Sistani. He talks about the condition in Iraq.

"The fatwa was for all Iraqi people to defend their cities against militants," he said. "They don't differentiate between sects or religions. Anyone who doesn't agree with them, they kill him."

Al Shamey believes Iraq is in more danger than at any time since 2003. And he said that America has already waited too long to help.

 "They should have helped when the fighters came to Mosul," he said. "But now that they've spread all over."

Copyright 2014 CBS. All rights reserved.

 

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