An explosion in Baghdad killed 18 people Thursday, and occurred just hours after parliament called for a recount in an election won by Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in May.
Al-Sadr’s party is currently the dominant political force in Sadr City and political opponents suggest that the bombing, which injured 110 people was carried out by the opposing party Saraya al-Salam militia, according to a local news report by the Alghad Press.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for a nationwide manual recount of votes after al-Sadr won the parliamentary election on May 12, saying there had been serious violations in the election, Reuters reported. (RELATED: Suicide Bomber Kills At Least 4 In Baghdad)
Al-Sadr has been described in the past by both the U.S. and Iraq as the biggest security threat to Iraq due to his radical and often violent methods of opposition against U.S. occupation after Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003.
Still the popular cleric, who garnered support from Iraqis who resent Iran and promised to fight corruption and improve services in the country, urged his followers to have “patience and self-control,” according to a statement from his office to Reuters following the attack.
The prime minister’s office is calling the attack “a terrorist aggression on civilians,” after an ammunition cache detonated as it was being transferred to a nearby car from a mosque that it was being stored in, according to police officials.
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