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Bangladeshi Troops Deploy Nationwide Ahead of Elections

Bangladeshi soldiers have begun deploying around the country to tighten security ahead of a national election on December 29.

Bangladeshi officials said troops who moved out of their barracks Thursday will act as a "strike force" against anyone trying to disrupt the polls.

Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed lifted a near-two year state emergency in the country Wednesday to allow political parties to campaign freely.

An interim Bangladeshi government imposed emergency rule in January 2007 with military backing after widespread violence erupted between supporters of the two main parties.

Bangladeshi security officials said they fear Islamist militants will resume attacks in the country in the run up to the elections. Members of a banned Islamist group recently sent letters to Bangladeshi politicians threatening to strike again.

Police this week detained at least 12 members of the outlawed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, accusing them of planning to disrupt the election.

The group was blamed for a series of bombings in late 2005 that killed at least 30 people, including judges, lawyers and policemen.

Bangladeshi authorities used the emergency rule to jail politicians accused of corruption and to implement reforms aimed at cleaning up the political system.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.