Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr attacks 'insolent militias'
In response to a query from an Iraqi army officer who complained about the marginalisation of the army's victories in Anbar province, Sadr said the army's victories had upset many people especially "the insolent militias" - a term he has used to describe certain factions within the Shia-led Popular Mobilisation forces.
"The victories of the heroic Iraqi army have rattled and provoked many people, especially the insolent militias," Sadr said in a statement.
"However I encourage the army to continue on its path and not give heed to such brazen statements."
Leaders from the Popular Mobilisation forces had recently complained about their exclusion from the battle to liberate Anbar province from the Islamic State group (IS).
Meanwhile, Iraqi forces continued their efforts to confiscate weapons from criminal gangs and unregulated tribal militias in the southern city of Basra.
The Iraqi ministry of defence said in a statement that it is carrying out a wide scale campaign to confiscate heavy and medium weapons, in addition to combatting the violent tribal disputes and criminal gangs.
The Iraqi army sent an armoured division and a police strike force into the southern oil-rich city on 15 January to restore order after intense tribal feuding that threatened the city's oil production that accounts for 85 percent of Iraqi output.
Rival Shia tribes have amassed extensive weapons arsenals since the American invasions in 2003, which have transformed normal tribal disputes into raging street battles in recent years.