News / Middle East

Twin Bombings Rock Iraq on Election Eve

VOA News
Two bomb blasts in Iraq have killed at least 15 people, a day before the country holds its first general elections since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011.

Tuesday's attacks took place at a market in the town of al-Saadiyah, about 140 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.  On Monday, insurgents targeting polling stations and political gatherings killed least 50 people in the Iraqi capital and areas north of the city.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni militants have been accused of similar acts in attempts to derail the political process.
Iraq began early voting on Monday for those unable to cast ballots in Wednesday's parliamentary elections.  Analysts say voters will likely choose along sectarian and ethnic lines with no single party expected to win a majority.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned violence targeting political leaders and candidates in Iraq.

In a statement late Monday, he urged Iraqi leaders to make sure everyone is able to take part in the political process.

Ban also praised Iraq's election commission for holding the elections on time, and called the vote "an important milestone in Iraq's democratic transition."
  • An elderly Iraqi woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote, Baghdad, April 30, 2014. 
  • A member of Iraq's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) stands guard in front of a polling station in Baghdad, April 30, 2014.
  • Security forces search people outside a polling station in Habaniyah, near Fallujah, April 30, 2014.
  • Iraqi policemen stand guard near a polling station, Baghdad, April 30, 2014.
  • A group of men gesture with their ink-stained fingers after casting their ballots in the Iraqi parliamentary election, Najaf, ,April 30, 2014.
  • An Iraqi policeman inspects the site of a suicide attack at a polling center in Kirkuk, April 28, 2014.
  • Passengers in a taxi wave PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) flags, the party of President Jalal Talabani, before the country's parliamentary elections, Sulaimaniya, April 28, 2014.
  • A woman hails a taxi while standing under Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) campaign flags before Iraq's parliamentary elections, Sulaimaniya, April 28, 2014.
  • A detainee shows his inked finger after casting a vote at the polling center inside a prison in Irbil, April 28, 2014.
  • Observers for election candidates and their parties monitor the voting process as prisoners cast their ballots inside al-Rusafa prison during early voting for the parliamentary election, in Baghdad, April 28, 2014.
  • Kurdish security personnel display their ink-stained fingers after casting their votes at a polling station during early voting for the parliamentary election, Arbil, April 28, 2014.
  • Iraqi security forces stand in line to vote outside a polling center, Baghdad, April 28, 2014.

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

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