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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 January, 2005, 23:41 GMT
In pictures: Iraq braces for poll
An Iraqi soldier patrols after a roadside bomb exploded nearby in Mosul, Iraq on Saturday
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There are unprecedented numbers of Iraqi and coalition forces on the streets ahead of election day in Iraq.
Iraqi soldiers inspect cars in Basra, southern Iraq
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Iraq's national borders have been closed and travel restrictions within Iraq are in force. Cars are under particular suspicion given the large number of recent car bombings...
A US soldiers places an authorisation sticker on an election official's car in Jisr Diala south of Baghdad
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... and on Sunday, only cars marked with official authorisation will be allowed on the roads.
US soldier patrols the deserted streets of Jisr Diala, south of Baghdad
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In many parts, normally bustling cities were deserted as Iraqis heeded the warnings of violence and stayed at home.
A man is searched with a metal detector before entering a polling station in Zubayr, Iraq
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Polling stations have been a particular target for insurgent attacks up and down the country in recent days...
An Iraqi soldier at a polling station in the Baghdad district of Sadr City
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... despite a policy only to reveal their location on Saturday.
Fatah al-Sheikh, a Shia journalist turned politician and ally of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, campaigning in Sadr City, Baghdad, on  Wednesday
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And in violence-ridden Baghdad, candidates out campaigning in public are rare. Many are running simply under a number to conceal their identities.
US soldiers take cover behind a barricade on a bridge in central Baghdad, Iraq after fighting erupts nearby
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In the capital, the streets are empty, US helicopters and jet fighters roar overhead in a show of strength, and barricades have been set up to restrict movement...
An injured Iraqi policeman is taken away after being shot in the knee during fighting in central Baghdad
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... but somehow the attacks keep coming.
US soldiers put up instructions for how to react in case of an attack in the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad
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Two Americans were killed and four people injured in the Green Zone - the heavily fortified complex housing the US embassy and Iraqi interim government in Baghdad.
The bullet-marked governorate building for Anbar province in Ramadi
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And shootings, bombings and ambushes have been reported in other cities. In Ramadi, the bodies of five Iraqis were found. Insurgents reportedly said they were collaborators.
An Iraqi kisses an election poster of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, in Basra
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Some Iraqis retain enthusiasm for the vote.
An Iraqi policeman delivers ballot boxes to a polling station in central Zubair, southern Iraq
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But analysts ask if the violence and intimidation coupled with the decision of many Sunni Muslims to boycott the poll mean the election can retain credibility.




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