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Iraqi Shiite fighters parade with their weapons on June 21 in the capital, Baghdad. / AFP/Getty

BAGHDAD (AP) - Thousands of Shiite militiamen have paraded in Baghdad and several other cities in southern Iraq with heavy weaponry, signaling their readiness to take on Sunni militants who seized much of the country's north.

In Baghdad, about 20,000 men, many in combat gear, marched through the Sadr City district on Saturday with assault rifles, machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers and missiles. Similar parades were held in the southern cities of Amarah and Basra, with the militants in Basra displaying field artillery pieces hauled by heavy trucks.

The parades were staged by followers of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and came after the al-Qaeda breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - known as ISIL or ISIS - and allied Sunni militants, captured a crossing on the Syria-Iraq border the day before.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Iraq's Shiite militiamen parade in show of force

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