TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani condemned “the criminal aggression” by the US that targeted the positions of the Arab country’s popular forces, calling on Iraqi officials to take the necessary measures and stop Washington.

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“The supreme religious authority condemns the criminal aggression that targeted a number of official Iraqi forces and resulted in the martyrdom and wounds of many,” Ayatollah Sistani’s office said in a statement on Monday.

The “practices carried out by some sides” must not be used as a reason to violate Iraq’s sovereignty, Ayatollah Sistani’s office said in the statement, Reuters reported.

“The Iraqi authorities alone are entitled to deal with these practices and take the necessary measures to prevent them. They are called upon do so and to ensure Iraq does not become a field for settling regional and international scores and that others do not interfere in its internal affairs,” the grand Ayatollah said.

On Sunday, US forces conducted drone strikes on a number of Kata’ib Hezbollah bases in Iraq’s western Anbar province, killing at least 25 individuals and leaving another 51 injured, according to the PMU (Popular Mobilization Units).

Following the strikes, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that it had targeted three locations of the Iraqi fighters in Iraq and two in Syria in response to alleged attacks targeting American forces.