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At Least 20 Killed As Violence Flares In Iraq


An Iraqi policeman casts his ballot during early voting for the parliamentary elections in Kirkuk on April 28.
A wave of violence has killed at least 20 people across Iraq as early voting began in the April 30 parliamentary elections.

Despite tightened security, militants managed to strike a variety of polling stations across the country on April 28 as army and police personnel began casting their ballots ahead of the rest of the country.

The procedure was intended to allow them to focus on security duties on election day.

One of the deadliest attacks took place in Tuz Khormato, about 200 kilometers north of Baghdad. A suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint leading to a polling center, killing six security personnel.

Officials in the northern city of Kirkuk said at least six police officers were killed when another suicide bomber detonated explosives, also near a polling center.

Attacks were also reported in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul.

Iraq has faced increasing violence in the run-up to the elections, which will be the first national vote since the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces in late 2011.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa