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Apr 22, 1:25 PM EDT

Militants attack balloting center in Iraq, kill 10


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AP Photo/Karim Kadim
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BAGHDAD (AP) -- Militants wearing military uniforms carried out an overnight attack against a balloting center in a remote area of the country's north and killed 10 guards, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

It was the latest in a surge of attacks around the country as Iraq gears up for crucial parliament elections on April 30. The attack came as Iraq's Shiite-led government struggled to keep a lid on a surge in sectarian violence that has sent bloodshed soaring to levels not seen since the country was pushed to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

An unknown number of militants showed up at the polling center late Monday in Daqouq village outside the northern city of Kirkuk, deputy police chief Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef said. They said they were there to carry out a search, he added, but instead shot and killed the 10 guards, eight of whom were village residents.

Daqouq is located about 260 kilometers (162 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad.

The attack was part of an ongoing effort by militants to derail elections in Sunni-dominated areas. It came just hours after a series of suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed at least 33 people.

The violence has led to a cancellation of balloting in parts of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, which is engulfed in clashes between security forces and al-Qaida-inspired militants. The militants have seized and are holding parts of the provincial capital, Ramadi, and almost all of the nearby city of Fallujah.

More than 9,000 candidates are taking part in the elections and will vie for 328 seats in parliament.

Later on Tuesday, authorities said a roadside bomb targeting a street full of shoppers killed four people and wounded nine in the city of Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad.

A roadside bomb also hit a police patrol south of Mosul, they added, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding four.

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