Iraqis living abroad have begun voting in the country's national elections -- as insurgents press on with attacks aimed at disrupting Sunday's vote in Iraq.
The polls in Australia are the first to open among 14 countries where 280-thousand Iraqis living abroad have registered to vote. Iraqis there headed to the polls early Friday). Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of State Kasim Daoud stressed that strict security measures are being implemented for the election. He added that Syria has not positively responded to Iraq's request to tighten security along its borders to prevent insurgents from entering Iraq. Mr. Daoud also accused Iran of interfering in Iraq. Meanwhile, insurgent attacks Thursday killed 15 civilians in the Sunni heartland around Baghdad. A U.S. Marine was also killed in action south of Baghdad. Insurgents also blew up schools and other buildings that were slated to be used Sunday as voting centers. Witnesses said militants ordered the schools evacuated before detonating their explosives.