Baghdad: Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council has issued arrest warrants for 20 people accused of involvement in a deadly blast in the Baghdad stronghold of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose bloc won an election marred by fraud accusations, state TV reported.

The orders came a week after the blast killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 90 in the Sadr City district. The interior ministry said an ammunitions cache had exploded and called it “a terrorist aggression on civilians”.

Al Sadr, who once led violent campaigns against the US occupation that ended in 2011, has emerged as a nationalist opponent of powerful Shiite parties allied with neighbouring Iran and as a champion of the poor.

He has to tread carefully.

Tehran, known for its pragmatism, has skillfully manipulated the formation of Iraq governments in the past and its militia allies are the most powerful forces in the country.