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Ballot Counting Under Way in Iraq Parliament Vote


Iraq's cities were mostly quiet Friday, as security measures remained in place for a final day following Thursday's parliamentary vote.

Officials say it could be early January before final results are tabulated and certified. More than 70 percent of Iraq's 15 million eligible voters are believed to have cast ballots for the 275-seat parliament. Abroad, officials said more than 320,000 expatriate Iraqis voted in 15 countries.

Meanwhile, coalition member Bulgaria has begun withdrawing its more than 300 troops from Iraq. The Bulgarian defense ministry said the troops have completed their mission and will return home by the end of this year.

In a separate development, Iraq's deputy interior minister, Hussein Kamal, says Iraqi security forces captured wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last year in the Fallujah area, but they released him because they did not realize who he was.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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