Donald Trump has accused his Republican rival Ted Cruz of
Donald Trump has accused his Republican rival Ted Cruz of "stealing" the vote in Iowa caucus. Mary Altaffer

Trump accusations: Cruz 'illegally stole' Iowa caucus win

DONALD Trump has accused Ted Cruz, his main rival in the Republican nomination contest, of "illegally" stealing the Iowa caucus.

The tweet, which appeared on the tycoon's official Twitter page, said: "Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he illegally stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong any why he got more votes than anticipated. Bad!"

The billionaire then hastily deleted his tweet, only to repost his words after correcting an error and taking out "illegally".

The Texas maverick Ted Cruz dealt Mr Trump's campaign a blow on Monday in a surprise victory over his Republican rival - many had expected the billionaire former Apprentice star to come out on top.

Mr Cruz emerged with 28 per cent of the Republican vote while Mr Trump took 24 per cent. Florida senator Marco Rubio also had a strong night, snapping at Trump's heels and running a close third.

"Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives," Mr Cruz declared, to great applause, as he railed against Washington, lobbyists and the media.

Mr Trump, who in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks called for a database to track Muslims living in the Unites States, continued to hurl abuse at Mr Cruz on his Twitter account, adding: "During peacetime of the Iowa caucus, Cruz put out at a relast that Ben Carson was quitting the race, and to a caucus (or vote) for Cruz.

He added: "Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because Cruz is a fraud. Also, Cruz sent out a voter violation certificate to thousands of voters.

The tweets are a marked contrast from the morning after the Iowa vote, in which Mr Trump offered his congratulations to his rival.

Speaking at the Sheraton hotel, he added: "I'm really honoured. And I want to congratulate Ted, and I want to congratulate all of the incredible candidates, including Mike Huckabee, who has become a really good friend of mine."

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