by Shaalan Ahmed, Laith Salman
BAGHDAD, Jan. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- The past few days have witnessed the leaving of
many Iraqi families to neighboring countries for fear of attacks that armed
groups might launch to derail Sunday's elections.
those who left the country are of the upper or middle classes and who have
relatives in the neighboring countries, especially in Syria, Jordan and the Gulf
Arab countries, according to some travel agencies in
They said that many families booked tickets to the
neighboring countries to evade the possible violence and attacks during the
elections, and the demand has increased remarkably in the past two
The wealthy Iraqi families are taking advantage of the
midyear holidays to travel abroad so as to avoid the danger and enjoy a few days
of rest with the children, said the owner of one of the agencies.
Rawad Hassan, 26, said
the family of his friend Sahal had left Iraq a week before the scheduled
elections because their house is close to one of the
"They feared that it could become a voting center
and thus become a target for attacks," Rawad said.
explained that Sahal's family preferred staying in Iraq but the deteriorating
security condition forced them to leave.
"The family is rich
and could afford the expenses. They would not return within a month," Rawad
Iraqis are due to vote on Jan. 30 to choose 275
members of a national assembly, whose key task will be to debate and approve a
But there are many reasons to make the
Iraqi families, especially the wealthy ones to leave the war-torn
Besides the power cut, shortage of fuel and the cut
of drinking water, Abu Musaab Al Zarqawi, an ally of al-Qaida and the most
wanted man in Iraq, announced a few days ago in a video tape posted on the
internet that he is launching war against the Iraq elections.
During the past two days, 10 voting centers in the governorate
of Salah Al Deen were attacked by mortar rounds, and three others in the south
were under similar attacks.
The interim Iraqi government has
taken some security precautions to safeguard the security of the voters and
announced holidays starting from Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, in addition to banning
traveling between Iraqi governorates.
A new curfew would be
imposed from 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) until 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) starting on Friday
evening until Tuesday in several places in the country, and Baghdad
international airport would be closed for Jan. 29 and Jan.
Despite all the precautions, the Iraqi government
conceded that it would be impossible to prevent all possible actions against the
Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said any
security plan could not be ideal and would always have
Among the fleeing Iraqi families, some trips
unfortunately ended in tragedy.
Abu Sinan, 68, said the
family of his neighbor left Iraq on the first day of Eid El Adha for Syria to
avoid possible attacks during the elections.
But they had an
accident on the road and three members of the family died, he
As for those families which choose to stay, some have
started to prepare for the election day as if they were preparing for a war,
storing plenty of food, fuel and water, observers said.