At least 18 killed in Baghdad explosion

Iraqi government Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi right and Shiite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr hold a press conference in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad Iraq early Sunday

Earlier on Wednesday, members of Iraq's parliament had voted in favour of a recount of the 11 million votes. The four Sunni-dominated provinces where vote results from balloting in camps for people displaced during the recent war against the Islamic State group would be cancelled are Anbar, Diyala, Salahuddin and Ninevah.

Iraq's highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judicial Council, had said this week that the courts could not force the IHEC to conduct a manual recount because the law stipulated the use of electronic vote counting devices. The council has also been asked to appoint nine judges to supervise the manual recount.

Sadr City is a stronghold of the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political bloc won a 12 May parliamentary election.

The vast, working-class district is a stronghold of his supporters, who battled United States troops in the years after the 2003 invasion.

Despite entering the election as the apparent frontrunner, al-Abadi's al-Nasr coalition faltered in the poll, coming in third with only 42 seats.

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An Iraqi police source said on Wednesday night the incident took place in Baghdad's Sadr City district, while ammunitions stored near a local mosque were being transferred to a auto park.

At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured after an arms depot exploded in the Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital late yesteday, security and medical sources said.

FILE PHOTO: An employee of Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission inspects voting materials at a polling station in Mosul, Iraq May 9, 2018.

A government commission set up to investigate the election found "unprecedented" violations by the Independent Elections Committee, according to al-Abadi.

It is unclear how the manual recount of ballots would affect the seat totals, but it would delay the formation of a new government for many more weeks - as well as cement the view that the political process is mired in corruption.

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