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  • Sunday, January 30, 2005

    Mixed turnout reports and violence as Iraqis begin to vote

    Iraqis Vote in Election, 27 Die in Attacks

    At one polling place in Baghdad, soldiers and voters joined hands in a dance, and in Baqouba, voters jumped and clapped to celebrate the historic day. At another, an Iraqi policeman in a black ski mask tucked his assault rifle under one arm and took the hand of an elderly blind woman, guiding her to the polls. In Ramadi, U.S. troops coaxed voters with loudspeakers, preaching the importance of every ballot.
    By midday, however, several dozen people were voting in Samarra and several hundred people — mostly Kurds — were voting on Mosul's eastern side, witnesses said. Yet in Baghdad's mainly Sunni Arab area of Azamiyah, the neighborhood's four polling centers did not open, residents said.
    In the most deadly attack Sunday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a polling station in western Baghdad, killing himself, three policemen and a civilian, officials said. Witness Faleh Hussein said the bomber approached a line of voters and detonated an explosives belt. In a second suicide attack at a polling station, a bomber blew up himself, one policeman and two Iraqi soldiers. In a third suicide attack at a school in western Baghdad, three people and the bomber died, police said. And in a fourth, at another school in eastern Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed himself and at least three others. Another four people died in other suicide attacks. Three people were killed when mortars landed near a polling station in Sadr City, the heart of Baghdad's Shiite Muslim community. In addition, two people were killed when a mortar round hit a home in Amel, and a policeman died in a mortar attack on a polling station in Khan al-Mahawil south of Baghdad.
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