Iraqis leaders urged to ensure followers avoid acts of reprisalsListen /
Political, military, religious and community leaders in Iraq have been urged to ensure that their followers avoid acts of reprisals.
The appeal has come from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon amidst reports of advances by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Last week , the Islamic militant group, also known as ISIS, took a number of cities and towns, including Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.
In a statement issued late on Sunday, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his condemnation of the recent upsurge of violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups.
He warned "against sectarian rhetoric that could further exacerbate the conflict and carry grave implications for the entire region."
Mr Ban welcomed what he called "the important clarification statement on the need for Iraqi unity" issued by His Eminence Sayed Ali Al-Sistani the religious leader in Iraq.
The Secretary-General said the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) stands ready to assist the Government and people of Iraq in overcoming the crisis.
Sophie Outhwaite, United Nations.