A series of deadly attacks in Baghdad have marred early voting in parliamentary elections in Iraq.
They came as tens of thousands of soldiers, police and security workers cast their ballots ahead of the general public on the weekend.
At least five people were killed in one blast, in the capital’s north western district of Hurriya.
A hidden roadside bomb went off near a school, that will be used a polling station on Saturday.
“Families were hurt and shops were damaged,” one man said. “We do not know the motive behind the blast. No one does. Children were hurt. Who is responsible for this crime?”
Later in the day, at least seven soldiers were killed when two suicide bombers struck at polling stations in the centre of Baghdad.
The attacks occurred despite a heavy security presence on the streets of the capital and around the country.
The security officials are voting early so they can work on Election Day. This is the second full parliamentary vote in Iraq since the invasion in 2003.
Patients and medical staff at the country’s hospitals, as well as prisoners, are also casting their ballots ahead of the rest of the country.
“Iraqis have been waiting for this day,” hospital employee Jawad Abd Kadhim said. “It is a great pleasure for the Iraqi people to elect someone to represent them. We want to elect our saviour.”
The attacks make it clear there are still gaps in security in Iraq. But the violence has not been allowed disrupt a vote, seen as crucial, seven years after the operation to topple Saddam Hussein.