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Blackouts In Baghdad Ahead Of Vote

14 October 2005 -- Electricity went out for hours across Baghdad this evening, plunging the Iraqi capital into darkness on the eve of the country's referendum on a new constitution.

Mahmud al-Sa'edi, an Electricity Ministry spokesman, called the incident a sabotage. He said insurgents hit power lines between the northern towns of Kirkuk and Beiji leading to the Baghdad region. He did not specify how insurgents damaged the lines, but in the past militants have used bombs to hit infrastructure.

Iraqi and U.S. forces have clamped down with strict security measures to prevent militant attacks on voters tomorrow.

Insurgents in Iraq launched two attacks against the country's largest Sunni Arab political party today.

In the first attack, militants exploded a roadside bomb just outside the Iraqi Islamic Party's office in central Baghdad. Hours later, insurgents set fire to the party's main office in Al-Fallujah.

No injuries were immediately reported.

(wire reports)

For RFE/RL's full coverage of Iraq's constitutional referendum in Iraq, see "Iraq Votes: Constitution Referendum"

For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".

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