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Iraqis voting on 30 January
8 February 2005 -- A Kurdish coalition has moved into second place, behind a Shi'a Muslim-led coalition, in the counting of votes from Iraq's 30 January elections.
Partial figures show the coalition of Iraq's two main Kurdish parties taking about 24 percent of the vote, moving ahead of the bloc led by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, which has dropped to third. Kurds make up about one-fifth of Iraq's population.
The partial results show the United Iraqi Alliance, which is backed by Iraq's top Shi'a clerics, so far taking more than half of the votes for the 275-seat National Assembly.
The partial figures appear to indicate that many Sunnis stayed away from the polls. Final results are expected by the end of this week.
More than 30 people were reported killed in attacks in Iraq yesterday in the deadliest day of violence since the elections. The Al-Qaeda-linked group of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for suicide bombings targeting Iraqi security forces in Ba'qubah and Mosul that killed 27 people.
The head of Egypt's Orascom Telecom firm said U.S. troops stormed a house in Baghdad and freed two Egyptian engineers who had been kidnapped on 6 February. Naguib Sawiris said two other Egyptians who had also been abducted escaped and were also now safe.
(Reuters/AFP/AP)For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Iraq Votes 2005".