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IS threaten to target upcoming Iraqi elections

Sunni jihadi groups have for long targeted Shias in Iraq [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 April, 2018

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IS has threatened to target Iraqi polling stations as parliamentary elections close in.
The Islamic State group has threatened to attack Iraqi polling stations and voters during parliamentary elections next month. 

In a message posted to the Telegram messaging app on Sunday, IS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir called on Sunni Iraqis to boycott the 12 May polls, the first since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the militants in December. 

"Oh Sunnis... we know that the government of Rafida [a derogatory Arabic term for Shias which implies they have refused the true message of Islam] is on the verge of what they call elections," he said.

"Our judgement will apply to those who call for them and participate in them... The voting centers and those in them are targets for our swords, so stay away from them and do not walk nearby."

Sunni extremist groups have long targeted Shias, a majority in Iraq.

Jihadist groups in Iraq have targeted every election since the 2003 US-led invasion that deposed Saddam Hussein and paved the way for Shias to dominate every government since. 

The legislative elections are due to take place on 12 May.

Around 7,000 candidates have registered to stand in the poll, with 329 parliamentary seats up for grabs.

Last week a car bomb attack targeted an election candidate in Iraq's contested Kirkuk city on Sunday, killing one person and wounding 11. 

The blast in the multi-ethnic city, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Baghdad, came as war-torn Iraq gears up for legislative elections on 12 May. 

"A civilian was killed and 11 people were injured, including three bodyguards, in the convoy of Ammar Hadaya Kahya, a candidate for the Turkmen Front in Kirkuk," the security source said on condition of anonymity. 

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