Early Iraq elections marred by violence

Friday, March 5, 2010

During the first day of voting in Iraq elections, two suicide bombers have attacked polling stations in Baghdad, killing at least 14.

The attacks occurred during early voting in for the elections, which allow government employees, the sick and prisoners to vote ahead of the elections on Sunday. Two attacks occurred, about an hour apart, in different districts of Baghdad. According to the official count, at least 14 people died in the attacks, not counting attacks the day before that killed 31 people. Unofficially, reports from the scene of the attacks suggested that these counts were significantly less than the actual toll. According to officials, the attacks were carried out by insurgents trying to disrupt the elections, which are seen as a pivotal event in Iraq's attempts to unify the country.

In preparation for the elections, and in response to the threats posed by the insurgents, the Iraqi government has undertaken substantial security efforts, including extensive planning for the event, as well as working with American military forces. Despite the preparations, a senior official within the government acknowledged the threat of violence, saying that until a stable government is formed, the potential for further attacks still exists.