Ballot counting is underway in Iraq, where sporadic violence failed to mar an historic vote for a new four-year parliament.

Election officials reported strong turn-out across the country's 18 provinces, where voters cast ballots for the 275-seat parliament. Polls had been due to close at 5 p.m. local time, but polling was extended in some areas, where there were long lines of voters. Final results are not expected for several days.

In insurgency-plagued western Iraq, a shortage of ballots was reported due to high turnout among Sunni Arabs who mostly boycotted the last election.

Security was extremely tight for the vote, but there was some violence. Two people were killed in separate incidents north of Baghdad, in Mosul and Tal Afar. Also, three people were wounded in a rocket attack on the capital's International Zone.

In Washington, the White House said the election is an historic day for the Iraqi people and the advance of freedom.

Shi'ites and Kurds dominated the interim assembly, but Sunni Arabs hope to have a bigger voice in the new parliament.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.