Ahmad al-Safi
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Iraqi cleric al-Sistani backs new PM, says spokesperson

15 August 2014 Last updated at 17:28 BST

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani - Iraq's most influential Shia cleric - has urged the nation's new Prime Minister, Haydar al-Abadi, to form a "strong and efficient government".

Delivering his Friday sermon in Karbala, his representative - Ahmad al-Safi - said that the "deteriorating relations" among the country's politicians had "made it imperative to change the positions and posts in the country".

It is estimated recent Islamic State (IS) violence has driven an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis from their homes.

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