The streets of Iraq are mostly empty and quiet as curfews and strict security measures have gone into effect ahead of Sunday's historic elections.
Despite tighter security, at least 17 Iraqis were killed on Saturday, eight of them in a suicide bombing. An American soldier was also killed in a bomb blast in Baghdad.
Two more Americans, one civilian and one member of the military were killed in an attack on Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone. Four other Americans were wounded. Officials say either a rocket or mortar struck the southern side of the U.S. Embassy's compound.
But the violence did not stop election workers from delivering ballots and ballot boxes to polling centers, and officials say preparations are moving forward.
Meanwhile, some 85-thousand Iraqis living abroad have already cast their ballots for the new national assembly. Expatriate voting began Friday and will continue through Sunday at voting centers in 14 countries from Australia to Europe to the United States.
In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Bush said the elections will mark the beginning of peace and prosperity in Iraq.