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Top Shi'ite Cleric Calls On Iraqi PM To Fight Corruption, Protests Grow

Iraq's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric on August 7 called for Iraq’s prime minister to "strike with an iron fist" against corruption, as fresh antigovernment protests erupted in Baghdad and Basra.

As thousands of protesters filled main squares against on August 7, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi needs to do more to fight corruption.

Abadi later said on his official Facebook page that he was committed to Sistani's guidance, adding: "I promise to announce a comprehensive reform plan...and I call on the political forces to cooperate with me to implement the reform program."

The protests come amid growing public anger about power cuts as temperatures soared past 50 degrees Celsius.

The protests could hamper government efforts to rally support in its fight to push Islamic State militants from territory they hold in northern and western Iraq.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP