Insurgent Attacks Mar Early Iraq Vote

BAGHDAD -- Insurgents broke out the ammunition as Iraq opened its polling places this morning for a national election considered a major test of a still-fragile democracy.

A barrage of mortar fire killed at least 25 people across Iraq.

About 19 million Iraqis are eligible to vote for who will lead the country after U.S. forces pull out, in an election that will determine whether Iraq can overcome often deadly sectarian divisions.

Insurgents see the balloting as validating the Shiite-led government and the U.S. occupation.

At least 14 people died in northeastern Baghdad after an explosion leveled a building, and mortar attacks in western Baghdad killed seven people.

In another northeast neighborhood, three people were killed when someone threw a hand grenade at a crowd.

In a city about 20 miles south of Baghdad, a bomb inside a polling center killed a policeman.


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