Sadr has been an indispensable political player since the US invasion of Iraq. Experts say he was in a dilemma about whether to be a cleric or a politician.
Authorities in several provinces, including Baghdad, ordered government offices to shut, while schools nationwide were closed due to the eighth dust storm to have lashed the country since mid-April.
Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad to protest a rise in targeted killings of prominent activists and journalists.
Turkish Foreign Ministry says that a commemorative stamp planned to be printed depicts a map including Turkish provinces, calling on the KRG officials to immediately reverse its "grave mistake."
Francis’s meeting in the holy southern city of Najaf comes during the first-ever papal visit to the country, aimed at promoting his call for greater fraternity among all peoples.
"May there be an end to acts of violence and extremism, factions and intolerance," the pope says on Friday in his first speech upon arrival to the war-torn Iraq.
The week-long clashes have continued after security forces fired to disperse protesters, who were trying to storm the provincial government building using rocks and Molotov cocktails.
Iraq's president names a former governor of Najaf city Adnan Zurfi as prime minister-designate, following weeks of political infighting.
Iraqi protesters converged on Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the four-month anti-government protest movement, to condemn the militia attack on Najaf protesters late night on Wednesday.
Loyals of populist cleric Muqtada al Sadr storm an anti-government protest camp in southern Najaf city leading to deaths and injuries to at least 20 people, medics say.
Adil Abdul Mahdi says he will step down in response to a call for a change of leadership by the country's top cleric Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, even as more protesters are shot dead in southern Nasiriyah city.
The anti-Iranian sentiment that has dominated weeks of protests in Iraq might have been a turning point.
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