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Iraqi Court Orders Arrest Of Suspects In Ballot Storage Site Fire

An Iraqi official carries a ballot box, after a fire at a storage site in Baghdad on June 10.

An Iraqi court has ordered the arrest of four people suspected of setting fire to the country’s biggest ballot box storage site, state TV reports.

The June 11 report said the suspects included three police officers and an employee of Iraq's elections commission.

The June 10 blaze destroyed a warehouse containing ballots from Baghdad’s Al-Rusafa district, ahead of a recount of votes cast during the country's legislative elections last month.

Authorities said the ballot boxes were saved, but a member of Baghdad’s provincial council said that "all the boxes and papers have burned."

"There is no doubt that it was a deliberate act and I am personally following up on the investigation with the criminal police and the committee tasked with probing the fire," Interior Minister Qassem al-Araji said.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi described the fire as a "plot" aimed at undermining Iraq's democracy.

Amid allegations of widespread fraud, Iraq's parliament last week ordered a manual recount of some 10 million votes cast during the May 12 polls, which were won by an alliance headed by Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP