Special Report: Tension escalates in Iraq
TIKRIT, Iraq, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Four mortars and a
roadside bomb explosion targeted polling stations in the city of Tikrit, the
capital of Salahudin province and home of toppled ex-president Saddam Hussein, a
provincial police source said Saturday.
Four mortar rounds landed near a polling station in
the city and a roadside bomb went off at a marketplace also close to a polling
station in central Tikrit, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The attacks took place as local residents were
heading to vote in the country's landmark provincial elections, the source said.
There are no immediate reports about casualties by
the blasts, the source added.
Early on Saturday, about 42,000 polling stations in
14 out of Iraq's 18 provinces opened their doors for some 15 million Iraqis who
have been called to cast their votes to elect members of provincial councils.
The voting is underway amid tight security measures,
including traffic bans in central Baghdad and other major cities and closure of
border crossings and airports.
The election is the first vote in the country since
2005. More than 14,400 candidates, about 3,900 of them women, are competing for
444 seats of the councils.
Iraq's provincial election
BAGHDAD, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Iraqis went
to polling stations in 14 out of Iraq's 18 provinces on Saturday morning to cast
ballots in the war-torn country's important provincial elections.
Early at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) about 42,000 polling
stations opened their doors for the voters, who each will emerge with one finger
swiped with purple ink as a proof of voting. Full story