Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has met with the country's prime minister in a sign of support for his newly-formed government and its struggle against the ISIS extremist group.
Iraqi state TV says The Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, arrived in Najaf on Monday and met the Supreme Religious Authority, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, at his arrival and Ayatollah Sistani received Abadi at his residence in Najaf province.
The meeting has great significance because Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, believed to be 86 years old, has shunned many politicians in the past years in protest of the way they run the country.
Al-Sistani lives in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, and rarely appears in public.Al-Abadi's newly formed Cabinet is striving to push the ISIS extremists out of the sprawling territory they have seized in recent months.
On Monday Iraqi Prime Minister, Haydar al-Abadi will go to Tehran in his first visit ever since taking office a month ago. The visit aims at “unifying the efforts” in the battle against the so-called "Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIS), according to the Information Office.
The Information Office of the Prime Minister said that the visit will last for one day. It includes a meeting with the Iranian officials to unify the efforts to help Iraq in its war against the terrorist organization ISIS, in addition to strengthening cooperation in many fields.