` Iraq Key Elections have Seen Many Iraqi’s Braving the Threats of Bombs and Attacks to Cast their Vote ‘

#AceNewsServices – BAGHDAD – Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and attacks to vote Wednesday in key elections for a new parliament amid a massive security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife.

Hundreds of thousands of troops and police fanned out to protect the first nationwide balloting since the 2011 American pull-out.

Scattered attacks still took place north of Baghdad, killing at least five people, including two women, and wounding 16.

Baghdad looked like a deserted city, with police and soldiers manning checkpoints roughly 500 yards apart and pick-up trucks mounted with machine-guns roaming streets that were otherwise devoid of the usual traffic jams.

Stores were closed, and many voters had to walk for miles to the polls after authorities banned civilian vehicles to prevent car bombs. Others demanded a lift from army or police checkpoints.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has held power for eight years, faces growing criticism over government corruption and persistent bloodshed as sectarian tensions threaten to push Iraq back toward the brink of civil war.

(Al-Arabiya) Reported that the polls have closed in the parliamentary election in Iraq in what was the first ballot since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.

There was a low turnout on Wednesday as fresh waves of violence continued across the country.

While twenty-two million Iraqis were eligible to vote, turnout was around 60 percent, reported Agence France-Presse.

Iraqis are electing 328 parliament members from more than 9,000 candidates.

Election officials did not confirm a time schedule for the release of the results, but they were expected to trickle in during the coming days.

Fox News – Al-Arabiya – AFP – Reuters

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