June 17 - Security measures in Baghdad intensify as tensions rise, while in Basra there’s a surge in the sale of uniforms after a senior Shi'ite cleric calls on followers to take up arms against Sunni militants. Gavino Garay reports.
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Iraqi soldiers patrol the streets of Baghdad in a heightened state of security.
Some residents are voicing concern following an extremist insurgency by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- or ISIL -- in the north.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQI CITIZEN, SAAD, SAYING:
"It is normal to be worried anywhere within Iraq because we, as Iraqis, consider Iraq a united country, whether north or south or the Kurdish region, so the troubles in any part of Iraq will raise concerns about our people. Definitely we are uncomfortable because the situation might collapse. "
There's also an increased troop presence in and around oil fields to help protect the country's energy industry.
But the head of a financial committee in Barsa province says the companies shouldn't be worried.
SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF FINANCIAL COMMITTEE AT THE BASRA PROVINCIAL COUNCIL, AHMED AL-SULAITEE, SAYING:
"The oil companies should not be concerned because any assault against them is a red line. Today, we are working to form a military force of 20,000 soldiers. Their first mission is to guard the border of the province. They will be the security cordon of the province."
The heightened state of security also means brisk business for traders selling uniforms in Baghdad's southern city of Basra.
It's the result of Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric urging followers to take up arms and defend themselves against Sunni militants.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASRA RESIDENT SHARHAN SABBAR SAYING:
"We came to buy uniforms and boots and equip ourselves and be prepared and ready. We do not want to wait for the army to supply us because this might take time. We want to supply ourselves and be ready. We have even asked tailors to sew us army uniforms"
The advance by ISIL may pose the biggest security crisis in Iraq since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
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