Grand Ayatollah Issues Election Statement; Three People Killed in Iraq

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shi’ite religious leader in Iraq, issued a rare political statement that was read by Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai during a weekly address on Friday. While encouraging Iraqis to participate in the May 12 polls, he also said he was keeping equal distance from all candidates and recently refused a visit from current prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. However, he also subtly criticized former premier, Nouri al-Maliki, who is running again. The Grand Ayatollah was instrumental in preventing Maliki from winning another term as prime minister in the 2014 elections, forcing Maliki to take on the mostly ceremonial role of vice president.

At least three people were killed, and five were wounded in recent violence:

Three people were killed, and five more were wounded, when roadside bomb exploded in Barwana.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.