Iraq’s top cleric Al-Sistani discharged from hospital

Shiite pilgrims pass a poster of Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, as they head to the shrine of Imam Moussa Al-Kadhim in Baghdad, Iraq. (File/AP)
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Updated 17 January 2020

Iraq’s top cleric Al-Sistani discharged from hospital

  • Al-Sistani underwent surgery Thursday at the Kafeel hospital in Karbala and was sent home Friday, officials at the hospital said
  • The cleric has been critical in calming tensions in recent months as the country faced crisis after crisis

KARBALA: Iraq’s most powerful cleric was discharged Friday from a hospital following a risky surgery for a fractured bone and returned to his home in southern Iraq, medical officials said.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, who turns 90 later this year, fractured a thigh bone when he slipped while bathing before evening prayers Wednesday night. The surgery was considered risky for his age and came amid ongoing tensions in Iraq following the US killing of a top Iranian general and a popular protest movement against the country’s ruling elite.
Al-Sistani’s opinion is often sought during troubled times and news that his surgery was successful prompted a flurry of well-wishes from senior officials.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “My prayers are extended along with the millions of Iraqis to whom he is a source of guidance and inspiration,” in a tweet early Friday.
Al-Sistani underwent surgery Thursday at the Kafeel hospital in Karbala and was sent home Friday, officials at the hospital said. He returned to his home in the holy city of Najaf. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.
The cleric has been critical in calming tensions in recent months as the country faced crisis after crisis beginning with mass protests seeking to unseat the political establishment and the recent US drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.


Iranians begin voting in parliamentary election

Updated 21 February 2020

Iranians begin voting in parliamentary election

  • Voting is scheduled to last for 10 hours
  • There are some 58 million Iranians eligible to vote for the country’s 290-seat parliament

DUBAI: Iranians began voting on Friday in a parliamentary election unlikely to change the Islamic Republic’s troubled relations with the United States, after thousands of candidates were barred from the field in favor of hard-liners.
State television reported that polling started at 0430 GMT. Voting is scheduled to last for 10 hours. There are some 58 million Iranians eligible to vote for the country’s 290-seat parliament.