Iraq holds vote during surge of violence

Associated Press
An Iraqi man casts his vote at a polling center in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. A key election for a new Iraqi parliament was underway on Wednesday amid a massive security operation as the country continued to slide deeper into sectarian violence more than two years after U.S. forces left the country. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

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Unshaken by the latest surge in violence, 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 have fanned out to guard voting centers in what is also the first nationwide balloting since the 2011 American pullout. Polls across the energy-rich nation opened at 7 a.m. local time and will close at 6 p.m. Iraq's 22 million voters are electing a 328-seat parliament. (AP)

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