A Baghdad warehouse being used to store ballot boxes for Iraq’s contested parliamentary election caught fire on Sunday, ahead of a nationwide recount effort.
The fire started hours after a number of judges were officially tasked with carrying out the manual process of recounting the votes from May’s election.
The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi released a statement Sunday calling the incident a “plot to sabotage the country and its democratic process.”
“We will take the necessary steps and will strike with an iron fist anyone who wishes to destabilize the security of the country and its citizens,” the statement read.
Iraq’s civil defense force was able to contain the fire and stop it from spreading to the main warehouse housing the majority of the ballots, according to General Saad Maan, spokesman for Iraq’s Interior Ministry.