Al-Kadhimi holds a series of meetings as stand-off hits boiling point following judicial work suspension 


Shafaq News/ Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi cuts short state Egypt visit and returned home as tension simmers following the Supreme Judicial Council's suspension of its activities throughout the country.

A source told Shafaq News Agency that al-Kadhimi who arrived in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, at noon proceeded with a series of meetings with senior officeholders in his cabinet to contemplate the developments that followed the Muqtada al-Sadr's followers protests near the headquarters of the Supreme Judicial Council.

A statement issued by his bureau said that the prime minister has urged all sides to calm down and renewed calls for a national dialogue.

According to the statement, al-Kadhimi said disrupting the judiciary "exposes the country to serious risks".

Al-Sadr's loyalists began gathering for protests outside the headquarters of the Supreme Judicial Council and Federal Supreme Court in Baghdad. They have sent threats by phone, the judiciary said in a statement.

"(We) will suspend court sessions as a protest against this unconstitutional behaviour and will hold the government and political parties which are backing this move fully responsible for all the results," the statement added.

The standoff in Iraq is the longest stretch without a fully functioning government in the nearly two decades since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in a U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

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