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General Election Campaigning Begins in Iraq

Campaigning has officially begun in Iraq for the country's upcoming March 7 general election.

The first official campaign posters were plastered across Baghdad Friday.

Campaigning opened amid simmering tensions over the decision to ban a number of Sunni Muslim candidates because of alleged ties to late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party.

Iraq's Shi'ite-led government has tried to purge former Ba'athists from top positions. Analysts say the effort could re-ignite sectarian tensions between majority Shi'ite Muslims and Sunnis, who dominated Iraq under Saddam.

As campaigning began, the U.S. military said five people were killed during a joint raid with Iraqi forces in a village near the Iranian border. It said those killed were suspected militants, but a provincial council member told the Associated Press they were civilians. No further information was immediately available.

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