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Iraq To Close Borders, Extend Curfew Ahead Of Vote


18 January 2005 -- Iraq plans to close its borders, extend nighttime curfews, and restrict movement inside the country to deter attacks during the upcoming elections.

Farid Ayar of Iraq's Independent Election Commission announced the measures, which are intended to protect voters and will last from 29 January until 31 January.

Police also intend to bar traffic from getting close to voting centers, and forbid traveling between provinces.

Exceptions to the travel restrictions will be made for Muslim pilgrims returning from the hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Insurgents have escalated their attacks against polling places and security forces this month.

(Reuters/AP)

[For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's 30 January provincial and national elections, see RFE/RL's dedicated Iraq Votes 2005 website.]
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