BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 21 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of Shiite followers of Lebanon's Hezbollah demonstrated in a Beirut suburb Friday vowing to fight in defense of Shiite holy sites in Iraq.
Clad in their white death robes, as a symbol of their readiness for martyrdom, the protesters chanted "we are ready to die in defense of Najaf and Karbala which the Americans have desecrated."
Hezbollah officials and Shiite clerics led the demonstration staged in Beirut's southern suburb, a stronghold for the militant group.
"Death to America," "Death to Israel" chanted the crowd which waived Hezbollah flags and banners that read: "Attacks against sanctities in Iraq is tantamount to an aggression against all Muslims."
The march was staged upon a call by Hezbollah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah who urged "all Muslims, women, children and elderly to express their anger and their readiness for martyrdom in defense of Imam Ali and Imam Hussein."
Mausoleums of the Shiites' two most veneered imams are located in Najaf and Karbala where fierce fighting raged for the past week between U.S. forces and Shiite insurgents led by rebellious cleric Moqtada Sadr.
Iraqis residing in Lebanon and neighboring Syria also participated in the march.