Accessibility links

Anti-American Shi'ite Cleric Al-Sadr Returns to Iraq

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (file photo)

Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr (file photo)

Iraqi officials say anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has returned to Iraq, after a nearly three-year absence.

Sadrist officials say the radical and influential figure returned to his family home in the city of Najaf on Wednesday.

Al-Sadr has been living in Iran, and it is unclear how long he plans to stay in Iraq.

The cleric emerged as a key U.S. foe after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, leading two uprisings carried out by his Mehdi Army against American forces.

Al-Sadr's political movement was a key player following last year's disputed elections in Iraq.

The cleric's bloc worked out a deal to be part of the new Iraqi government, and its support helped Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki secure a second term.

The Sadrists won 39 out of 325 seats in parliament in the March, 2010, elections.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.