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Iraq's Shia in 'million man march'
Shias from southern and central Iraq have begun travelling to Baghdad in answer to Muqtada al-Sadr's call for a "million man march" in support of Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Waving Iraqi flags and chanting "Death to America! Death to Israel", the demonstrators mounted convoys of buses and headed for the capital on Thursday, some of them wearing white shrouds symbolising their readiness to accept martyrdom.
The demonstration is to be held following Friday prayers in the teeming Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, home to some two million people, and comes at a tense time for the capital.
Sahib al-Ameri, general director of the Foundation for God's Martyrs, part of Sadr's movement said: "Thousands of Najaf people have set off for Baghdad as a response to Moqtada al-Sadr's invitation to take part."
Anger over Israeli attacks on Lebanon - which target Hezbollah but have caused widespread civilian casualties - has raised passions in Iraq, where Shia militias have an uneasy relationship with the US-backed government.
US forces have visibly tightened security around Sadr City, a working class Shia district where Sadr's supporters are openly armed.