ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – As Iraqis began voting in Saturday's national election, a bomb was found near a voting center in Kirkuk and injuries reported after a mortar attack in Diyala, security sources and witnesses told Kurdistan 24.
The explosive device was discovered after voters started lining up at a polling center in the neighborhood of Wahid Huzairan in southern Kirkuk city, a security source told Kurdistan 24. It was secured and disabled by Iraqi security forces with no casualties.
Also on Saturday, in the province of Diyala, security sources and witnesses reported multiple mortars striking near the village of Mukhisa 15 km east of Baquba, as voting was taking place there.
Local residents told Kurdistan 24 that they heard at least three explosions followed by gunfire. Two security force members were reported injured, but this could not be confirmed.
The Islamic State (IS) issued a warning in late April, claiming its militants would target polling stations across Iraq and warning Sunnis in particular not to take part in the electoral process.
In an online audio recording, the group threatened that “all those who support or participate in the elections” would be a target.
In a statement issued on Friday evening, the US embassy in Baghdad warned its nationals that the organization was preparing to launch bombings, especially in Baghdad.
Iraqi authorities have played down the warnings, with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi saying in a speech on Friday that "terrorists" will not be able to compromise the security of voters.