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Iraq Goes into Election Mode Ahead of Saturday Referendum

A four-day-long public holiday began in Iraq Thursday, ahead of Saturday's referendum on a new constitution.

New checkpoints and concrete security barriers began appearing near polling stations, and a nighttime curfew was to go into effect. Friday, Iraq will close its borders and vehicles will be banned.

In pre-election violence, two policemen were killed in the northern city of Kirkuk, and roadside bombs in Mosul and Tikrit killed two civilians and an American soldier.

About 15.5 million Iraqis are eligible to vote. Today, detainees who have not been convicted of a crime, as well as hospital patients, were authorized to began casting their ballots early.

Late Wednesday, parliament approved a deal designed to win support from Sunni Arabs, who have generally been against the constitution. But many Sunni groups say they will still vote "no."

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.