Iraq's Sadr announces alliance with militia leader Amiri
Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose bloc won last month's parliamentary election, has announced an alliance with the runner-ups in the vote.
Sadr made the announcement on Tuesday at a press conference in the Shia holy city of Najaf that he would team up with Iranian-backed militia chief Hadi al-Amiri's bloc.
"An alliance has been formed between the Sairoun alliance and Fatih to create the largest bloc," Sadr said, according to The New Arab's Arabic-language service.
"This move comes from a spirit of patriotism," he added at the joint presser.
The surprise announcement comes after a fire ravaged a warehouse where votes from May's legislative election were being stored ahead of a vote recount.
"What happened to the ballot boxes is a terrible crime," Sadr said.
Sadr and Amiri seem to have vastly different opinions on the future of the country.
Sadr, whose followers fought US forces in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, has fashioned himself as an anti-graft nationalist and has called for less foreign meddling.
While Amiri, whose Badr militia played a key role in the two-year war to liberate Iraqi territory captured by the extremist Islamic State group, is a close ally of Iran.