The Sixth Seal: A Stack of Cards (Revelation 6:12)

Experts Warn NYC Could Fall Like ‘House of Cards’ With 5.0 Earthquake

A 3-D rendering of a destroyed NYC. (Pavel Chagochkin/Dreamstime.com)

By Mike Dorstewitz    |   Wednesday, 04 April 2018 06:30 PM

A magnitude-5.0 earthquake in New York City would cause an estimated $39 billion in damage after buildings topple like a “house of cards,” according to the Daily Mail.

And the city is overdue for a quake of that size, seismologists say. The last one was in 1884 and they occur about every 100 years.

An estimated 30 million tons of debris would litter the streets after a 5.0 earthquake in NYC , and anything bigger than that would almost certainly collapse buildings and cause loss of life to the city’s 8.5 million residents.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” said Lynn Skyes, lead author of a study by seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the New York Daily News reported. “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”

New York City is riddled with fault lines. The largest runs down 125th Street, extending from New Jersey to the East River. The Dyckman Street Fault runs from Inwood to Morris Heights in the Bronx. The Mosholu Parkway Fault line runs a bit farther north. The East River Fault is an especially long one, running south, skirting Central Park’s west side then heading to the East River when it hits 32nd Street.

New York’s main problem isn’t the magnitude of earthquakes, it’s how the city is built.

“Considering population density and the condition of the region’s infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact,” New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation wrote on its website.

Nuclear Terrorism and the Pakistani Horn

Nuclear Terrorism and Pakistan

By Sonia Naz August 6, 2018

Nuclear terrorism is a potential threat to the world security. According to the EU representative terrorists can get access to nuclear and radioactive materials and they can use it to terrorize the world. Nuclear security expert Mathew Bunn argues that “An act of nuclear terrorism would likely put an end to the growth and spread of nuclear energy.”After 9/11 the world has observed that al-Qaida wanted to get nuclear weapons. In case terrorists acquire nuclear materials, they would use it for the production of a dirty bomb. A dirty bomb is not like a nuclear bomb. A nuclear bomb spreads radiation over hundreds of square while; nuclear bomb could destroy only over a few square miles. A dirty bomb would not kill more people than an ordinary bomb. It will not create massive destruction, but it will cause the psychological terror which will lead to a panic situation which is more devastating. The world has not experienced of any act of nuclear terrorism, but terrorists expressed their desires to gain nuclear weapons. The IAEA has observed thousands of incidents of lost, left and unauthorized control of nuclear materials and such materials can go into the wrong hands.

After 9/11 terrorism generated negative perceptions about the nuclear security of Pakistan. Often western community pressurizes Pakistan that its nuclear weapons can go into the wrong hands due to the terrorism in it.  The fact is that Pakistan has faced many terrorist attacks, but not any attack towards its nuclear installation facility and radiation has been occurred. Mostly, nations obtain nuclear weapons for the international prestige, but Pakistan is one of those states which obtained nuclear capability to defend itself from India which has supremacy in conventional weapons. It played a leading role in the efforts of nuclear security since inception of its nuclear weapons. The result is that no single incident of theft and sabotage has been recorded in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a very responsible state and it has taken foolproof measures to defend the its nuclear installations and nuclear materials against any terrorist threats. Pakistan is not the member of the nonproliferation(NPT), Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Fissile material cut off treaty (FMCT) because India has not signed them. If Pakistan signs these treaties and India does not, it would raise asymmetry between both rival states of South Asia. Pakistan’s nuclear non-proliferation policy is based on principles as per the NPT norms, although ithas not signed it. Pakistan had also proposed to make South Asia a nuclear free zone in 1970 and 80s, but India did not accept that.

However, Pakistan is a strong supporter of non-proliferation, nuclear safety and security. In this context, it is the signatory of a number of regimes. Pakistan has established the its Nuclear Regulatory authority (PNRA) since22 January, 2001 under the obligations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The PNRA works under the IAEA advisory group on nuclear security and it is constantly improving and re-evaluating nuclear security architecture. Pakistan has ratified the 2005 amendment to the physical protection convention for the physical security of nuclear materials. When Obama announced nuclear security summit in 2009,Pakistan welcomed it. It has not only attended all nuclear security summits, but proved with its multiple nuclear security measures that it is a responsible nuclear state. Pakistan’s nuclear devices are kept unassembled with the Permissive Action Links (PALs) to prevent the unauthorized control and detonation of nuclear weapons. Different US policy makers and Obama have stated that “we have confidence that the Pakistani military is equipped to prevent extremists from getting an access to the nuclear materials.”

The dilemma, however is that some major powers favour India due to their geopolitical interests, despite India’s low score in nuclear security than Pakistan, as is evident from the reports prepared by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).The US has always favoured India for the membership of the NSG ignoring Pakistan request to become a member of the NSG, despite that it has taken more steps than India to ensure nuclear safety and security. It is following United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540(which is about the prevention of proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDS) and it is the first state which has submitted its report to the UN.

The report explains the measures taken by Pakistan to ensure radiological security and control of sensitive materials and WMDs transfer. Although Pakistan has suffered a lot due to terrorism, but its nuclear security measures are strong and appreciable. Recently, IAEA director visited Pakistan and appreciated its efforts in nuclear safety and security. In view of Pakistan’s successful war against terrorism, its success in eliminating terrorism in the country, and strong measures that it has taken to secure its nuclear installations and materials, their should be no doubt left about the safety Pakistan’s nuclear materials.

History Warns New York Is The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

History says New York is earthquake prone

 

New York Earthquake 1884

Friday, 18 March 2011 – 9:23pm IST | Place: NEW YORK | Agency: ANI

If the past is any indication, New York can be hit by an earthquake, claims John Armbruster, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. 

If the past is any indication, New York can be hit by an earthquake, claims John Armbruster, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Based on historical precedent, Armbruster says the New York City metro area is susceptible to an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 once a century.

According to the New York Daily News, Lynn Skyes, lead author of a recent study by seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory adds that a magnitude-6 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and magnitude-7 every 3,400 years.

A 5.2-magnitude quake shook New York City in 1737 and another of the same severity hit in 1884.

Tremors were felt from Maine to Virginia.

There are several fault lines in the metro area, including one along Manhattan’s 125th St. – which may have generated two small tremors in 1981 and may have been the source of the major 1737 earthquake, says Armbruster.

There’s another fault line on Dyckman St and one in Dobbs Ferry in nearby Westchester County.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” explained Skyes after the study was published.

He adds: “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”

“Considering population density and the condition of the region’s infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact,” says the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation on its website.

Armbruster says a 5.0-magnitude earthquake today likely would result in casualties and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

“I would expect some people to be killed,” he notes.

The scope and scale of damage would multiply exponentially with each additional tick on the Richter scale.

The Hypersonic Chinese Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Image result for starry sky 2China’s hypersonic aircraft, Starry Sky-2, could be used to carry nuclear missiles at six times the speed of sound

First test flight of experimental design, which rides its own shock waves, deemed a ‘huge success’

Liu Zhen

Tuesday, 7 Aug 2018, 4:10AM

China has successfully tested a new hypersonic aircraft that could one day be used to carry missiles at such speeds as to make them unstoppable, according to scientists involved in the project.

The Starry Sky-2, which is an experimental design known as waverider – for its ability to ride on the shock waves it generates – completed its first test flight on Friday at an undisclosed location in northwest China, the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics said in a statement issued on Monday.

The aircraft was carried into space by a multistage rocket before separating and relying on its own power. During independent flight it conducted extreme turning manoeuvres, maintained velocities above Mach 5.5 (five-and-a-half times the speed of sound) for more than 400 seconds, and achieved a top speed of Mach 6, or 7,344km/h (4,563mph), the statement said.

On completion of the flight, which was deemed a “huge success”, the aircraft landed in a designated target zone, the academy said.

The entire flight was controlled and provided effective test data, while the aircraft itself was recovered “whole”, the statement said.

“The test … has laid a solid technological foundation for engineering applications of the waverider design,” it said.

Although still at the experimental stage, once fully developed, waveriders could be used to carry warheads capable of penetrating any anti-missile defence system currently available.

Beijing-based military analyst Zhou Chenming said it would most likely be used for carrying conventional warheads rather than nuclear ones, adding that such a capability was still some way away.

“I think there are still three to five years before this technology can be weaponised,” he said.

“As well as being fitted to missiles, it may also have other military applications, which are still being explored.”

The Starry Sky-2 is not China’s first hypersonic aircraft – it has been testing hypersonic glide vehicles since 2014 – but is the only one that makes use of waverider technology.

The new aircraft, which has a flatter, wedge-shaped fuselage to improve its supersonic lift-to-drag ratio, also has much greater manoeuvrability that makes early warning or interception more difficult.

China could test fire new Russian missile defence system in coming days, Tass news agency says

Mike Griffin, a former Nasa administrator and now the Pentagon’s defence undersecretary for research and engineering, said earlier this year that China had built “a pretty mature system” for a hypersonic missile to strike from thousands of miles away.

China is not alone in developing hypersonic weapons; the United States and Russia are too.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in June that the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system had reached speeds of Mach 20, while a new hypersonic glide vehicle, the Avangard, which was “absolutely invulnerable to any missile defence system” would come into operation next year, followed by a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile in 2020.

The US is working on several designs, including the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 and Advanced Hypersonic Weapon. Earlier this year, the US Air Force allocated US$1 billion for the design and development of a hypersonic missile that could be launched from a warplane.

No Way will Israel attack Iranian-backed forces in Iraq

Will Israel attack Iranian-backed forces in Iraq?

Sean Savage

Situated in the cradle of human civilization, modern-day Iraq has been no stranger to gruesome bloodshed and violence in recent years. With the scourge of the Islamic State largely defeated, many hope that Iraq can now turn a page on its bloody recent past and start building for a new future. However, Iraq’s Persian neighbor, Iran, has different plans. As one of the region’s major powers, Iran has been focused on taking advantage of the chaos to its west to fulfill one of the core tenants of theocratic regime: Shi’ite Muslim expansionism and revolution.

While modern Iran’s involvement in Iraq goes back decades—from the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the bloody Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s to support insurgent groups in the years following the U.S. invasion—more recently, Iran has sought to leverage Iraq’s majority Shi’ite Muslim population as the final piece in its corridor of control, dubbed the “Shi’ite Crescent” from Tehran to Beirut in Lebanon.

“Currently, Iran has control over numerous Iraqi [mostly Shia] political and militia organizations,” Phillip Smyth, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told JNS.

“These groups generally follow the same organizational and ideological model as Lebanese Hezbollah,” he explained. “Their creation and growth are part of a longer-term Iranian strategy that follows the successes they’ve built when it comes to influencing Lebanon. They wish to construct groups that push their ideologies, policies, and whose armed groups can be utilized.”

Indeed, Iraq’s diversity has been its downfall in recent decades. Stitched together by former colonial powers the British and French following World War I, Iraq is torn between three dominant groups—the Kurds, Sunni Arab Muslims and Shi’ite Muslims, who make up about 65 percent of the population. Iran, which is also Shi’ite Muslim, has had long and complicated ties with its neighboring Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims, but has grown to fill the political vacuum left behind by recent wars to extend its domination over the community.

“Iran is deeply insinuated into Iraq’s political and security apparatuses. It used the Islamic State invasion of Iraq as a pretext to establish an IRGC [Iran Revolutionary Guards Corp] military presence in the country and expand its funding, training and equipping of Iraq’s major Shi’ite militias, which have since been incorporated into the Iraqi government as a direct conduit for Iranian influence over Iraq’s security policy,” Jonathan Ruhe, associate director of JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy, told JNS.

As such, domination over Iraq is seen as one of the last pieces extend its “land bridge” of Shi’ite Muslim communities from Iran to Lebanon in order to directly threaten Israel.

“Control of this land bridge would expand Tehran’s ability to proliferate advanced weapons to Hezbollah, establish a second front against Israel in the Golan, and threaten U.S. and Israeli partner Jordan,” said Ruhe.

“More geostrategically, it would also bolster Iranian hegemony in the heart of the Middle East, which is critical to its objective of replacing the United States as the preeminent power in the region.”

Iranian build-up in Iraq

Earlier this month, it was reported that Iran had transferred ballistic missile to its Shi’ite proxies in Iraq.

According to three Iranian officials, two Iraqi intelligence sources and two Western intelligence sources, Iran has transferred short-range ballistic missiles to allies in Iraq over the last few months. Five of the officials said it was helping those groups to start making their own,” Reuters reported.

Among the missiles transferred include the Zelzal, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar, which have ranges of about 200 kilometers (125 miles) to 700 kilometers (435 miles), putting both regional foes of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel within striking distance.

“If these reports are indeed true, it represents the next logical step in Iran’s efforts to replicate and expand the threat posed to Israel from Hezbollah’s Iranian-made missile arsenal in Lebanon,” said Ruhe. “Iran is pursuing a similar project in Syria, which has prompted Israeli airstrikes to prevent Syria becoming a second front for threatening Israel with precision missiles.”

“In putting new missiles in Iraq capable of reaching Israel, Iran would be presenting Israel with a dilemma: escalate its preventive campaign against Iranian proliferation of strategic weaponry by forcing Israel to expand its strikes to another country, or allow Tehran to establish yet another way to threaten Israel?” he asked.

Will Israel attack Iraq?

Already, Israel has signaled that it would not tolerate this new Iranian front in Iraq, as it has done with hundreds of airstrikes on Iranian military assets in Syria during its seven-year civil war.

“We are certainly monitoring everything that is happening in Syria, and regarding Iranian threats, we are not limiting ourselves just to Syrian territory. This also needs to be clear,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in reference to Iran’s buildup in Iraq earlier this month.

“I am saying that we will contend with any Iranian threat, and it doesn’t matter from where it comes … Israel’s freedom is total. We retain this freedom of action,” he added.

Israel, of course, is no stranger to carrying out an attack on Iraqi soil. In 1981 Israel’s air force destroyed the Osirak Iraqi nuclear reaction near Baghdad.

However, the United States, which has about 5,200 troops in Iraq as part of its mission to stabilize the country and defeat the Islamic State, reportedly warned Israel not to carry out any airstrikes in Iraq.

American officials were reported to have told Israeli defense officials to “please leave Iraq to us,” Israel public broadcaster KAN reported.

Yet Ruhe remains unconvinced that America would target Iran or Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.

“To date, the United States has demonstrated a desire to coexist, however uneasily, alongside Iranian-backed forces in Iraq as part of the overarching goal of restoring a semblance of political and military stability to Iraq, and minimizing risks and burdens to U.S. forces operating there,” he said.

For Smyth, an attack by Israel in Iraq would be a “major escalation” from how the Jewish state has targeted these groups in the past.

“The farthest strike [likely launched by the Israelis] was near the Syrian-Iraq border some weeks ago. Of course, this may have been a signal by Israel to the militias that as soon as they enter Syria, they will be subject to Israeli attacks.

“However, going directly into Iraq would be a move in the direction of saying that all of these targets on the table, and it could have much harsher repercussions for U.S. forces.”

As such, Ruhe sees any Israel attack on Iranian proxies in Iraq as part of a broader campaign.

“It seems more realistic to envisions Israeli forces attacking Iranian proxies in Iraq—either as an expanded part of its counter-missile campaign against Iran in Syria, or as part of a major conflict between Israel on the one hand and Iran and it proxies [including Hezbollah] on the other,” Ruhe said.

“Indeed, Israel has made clear at least since Netanyahu’s Munich speech in February that if attacked, it would address the Iranian threat in its totality—regionwide, and not just from Syria.”

The Pending War Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Tear gas canisters are fired by Israeli troops toward Palestinian demonstrators during a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City August 3, 2018.

Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israel and Gaza may be on the verge of war. It could be worse than in the past.

“I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen a full-blown war yet,” one expert said.

Alex Ward

Aug 6, 2018, 2:40pm EDT

Months of low-level conflict between Israel and Gaza seem to be reaching a boiling point — and experts worry the two sides may be hurtling toward all-out war.

Since March, thousands of Gazans have been protesting nearly every week at the Israeli border. They’re calling for the “right of return” for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their descendants who fled or were displaced from their homes after the creation of the state of Israel, as well as an end to Israel’s crippling 12-year land, sea, and air blockade of Gaza.

The terrorist group Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, organized most of these protests. And though the vast majority of protesters were peaceful, some have used violence, setting fire to Israeli land with flaming kites and balloons, launching rockets and mortars into Israel, and shooting at Israeli soldiers, killing one.

Israel has responded forcefully to the Gaza uprising, shooting and killing protesters at the border and pounding Hamas installations inside Gaza with artillery, tank fire, and airstrikes. Since March, Israeli forces have killed around 140 Palestinians and injured roughly 16,000 others, including women, children, and journalists who were covering the protests.

““There’s no international initiative of any kind that can get us out of this mess””

Hamas and Israel agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire on July 14, but it quickly collapsed, and the fighting has only escalated.

Neither side seems willing to back down, and Israeli officials have begun openly discussing the possibility of launching a full-scale military invasion of Gaza.

“Hamas leaders are forcibly leading us into a situation where we will have no choice, a situation in which we will have to embark on a painful, wide-scale military operation,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Jerusalem Post on July 20. “Hamas is responsible for this crisis, but unfortunately it’s the Gaza residents that may have to pay the price.”

Hamas has escalated the rhetoric too. The group stated on July 26 that it vowed to “make the enemy pay a heavy ‎price, in blood, for ‎its crimes against the Palestinian people.” Hamas may yet change its mind, as the group’s top leaders from abroad traveled to Gaza for talks about whether to finally accept the ceasefire.

In mid-July, top Israeli officials also ordered the military to prepare for a possible ground invasion of Gaza — but it’s unclear if that means an invasion is imminent.

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned trip to Colombia last Thursday, citing current tensions with Gaza. That same day, Israel indefinitely blocked fuel and gas from entering Gaza.

These moves have led some experts to worry that Israel and Gaza are on the brink of yet another all-out war — their fourth in just a decade.

“I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen a full-blown war yet,” said Khaled Elgindy, an adviser to Palestinian leadership from 2004 to 2009 who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington. “It’s only a matter of time.”

Some in Israel might even welcome a larger fight. According to a July 31 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, 61 percent of Jewish Israelis believe the country should launch a large-scale military operation against Gaza if it continues to attack Israel.

If full-scale war does break out, experts warn the conflict will almost certainly be even bloodier and uglier than the last time.

Why Israel and Gaza are fighting

Gaza is a tiny, densely populated strip of land located between Israel, the Mediterranean Sea, and Egypt. Approximately 25 miles long and 6 miles wide, it is home to an estimated 1.9 million Palestinians.

In 1967, Israel occupied Gaza and the West Bank during the Six-Day War. (Gaza had formerly been under Egyptian control.) From then until 2005, Israeli military authorities controlled Gaza in the same way they control the West Bank today. Some 8,500 Jews also chose to build settlements in Gaza during this time, many believing it to be part of “Eretz Yisrael” (Greater Israel), the land biblically ordained for Jews.

Christina Animashaun/Vox

Those settlements, and the soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces who were charged with protecting the Jewish settlers who lived in them, caused serious friction with the majority population of Palestinians in Gaza.

As a result, in 2005, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally decided to dismantle all of the Jewish settlements in Gaza, evacuate the settlers (forcibly, if necessary), and pull out all Israeli troops.

A short time after the Israeli withdrawal, the Islamist group Hamas, which formed in 1987 as a militant “resistance” group against Israel, won political power in Gaza in a 2006 US-backed election and took full control of the Gaza Strip.

This prompted Israel to institute a blockade of the flow of commercial goods into Gaza, on the grounds that Hamas could use those goods to make weapons to be used against Israel. Israel has eased the blockade over time, but the cutoff of basic supplies like fuel still does significant humanitarian harm by restricting access to electricity, food, and medicine.

Hamas and other Gaza-based militants have fired thousands of rockets from the territory at Israeli targets. Israel has launched a number of military operations in Gaza, including an air campaign and ground invasion in late 2008 and early 2009, a major bombing campaign in 2012, and another air/ground assault in 2014.

In the summer of 2014, three Israeli students were kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank, a Palestinian-controlled territory. Once authorities found the bodies under rocks in an open field, Israeli officials blamed Hamas for the deaths and vowed to seek revenge.

Thus began the last time Hamas and Israel fought a war — and it was a brutal seven-week fight.

Israel started launching airstrikes on Gaza, and Palestinians responded by firing rockets into Israel. Then on July 17, 2014, the Israeli military invaded Gaza, in part to close down tunnels that allowed Hamas to secretly enter Israel and attack the country. Ground fighting led to a spike in Palestinian casualties, which went from a few hundred quickly into the thousands.

The conflict eventually ended in August, with both sides agreeing to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire. Israel said it would relax the blockade on Gaza; Hamas declared that it won the war. More than 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis were killed, while over 10,000 people — mostly Palestinians — sustained injuries.

That war was bad, but a new one could be worse.

Israel may feel more emboldened this time around because there are fewer political constraints on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his team, the Brookings Institution’s Elgindy told me.

That’s because the United States — and the Trump administration in particular — is very closely aligned with Israel. Should Israel choose to drop even more bombs and send even more troops into Gaza, and kill more people, than it did four years ago, Elgindy expects Washington to let it happen with little criticism.

The question is how much leverage, or desire, Egypt and the US would have to broker a ceasefire and end a potential new war. And even if they did succeed in attaining some sort of peace, experts don’t think it would last.

“It is hard to imagine that any negotiated truce would survive in the long run,” Guy Ziv, a Middle East expert at American University, told me. “As long as Hamas is in power, and as long as the dire humanitarian conditions [in Gaza] persist, a renewed flare-up is probably only a question of time.”

So to recap: A new Israel-Gaza war could be bloodier this time, and when it ends, the potential for new conflict will likely still exist. It’s no wonder most experts note the prospects for peace between the two sides remains very slim.

“There’s no international initiative of any kind that can get us out of this mess,” Elgindy told me.

Recount Will Have NO Effect On the Antichrist

Iraq says national election recount completed – State TV

By Reuters• 06/08/2018

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s election commission has completed a manual recount of votes from a parliamentary election held in May after the process was cut short in Baghdad, state television said on Monday.

The recount was ordered by parliament in June after a government report concluded there were serious violations in an initial count using an electronic vote-counting system.

However, a fire that broke out in the warehouse where the votes were stored had made a complete recount impossible, leading the electoral commission to cancel it the remaining half of the capital, the state broadcaster said.

The commission’s leadership had been suspended and replaced with a panel of judges who oversaw the recount. It is expected to announce its results in the coming days.

The winning parties are currently embroiled in negotiations over forming the next governing coalition. Influential cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc came first in the election, followed by a group of Iran-backed Shi’ite militia leaders, with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s bloc in third place.

The political uncertainty has fuelled tensions at a time when public impatience is growing over poor basic services, unemployment and the slow pace of rebuilding after a three-year war with Islamic State which cost tens of billions of dollars.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by John Stonestreet and Angus MacSwan)