Thursday, October 13, 2005

Iraqi City Braces for Constitution Vote

HADITHA, Iraq (AP) - U.S. Marines handed out thousands of fliers and copies of Iraq's new constitution Thursday, urging people to vote in this Sunni Arab town that only a week ago was the target of U.S. airstrikes.

But with the crucial referendum on the charter just two days away, many residents still did not know where to cast ballots. Across Iraq's insurgent heartland - the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab province of Anbar - fears of attacks have limited plans to only a handful of heavily fortified polling stations.

Even then, the sites were still unannounced Thursday for security reasons, officials said, and a ban on vehicle traffic will force many residents to walk miles to vote.

And American forces were not the only ones waging a public campaign: Insurgents had distributed fliers of their own before the U.S.-led offensive, Iraqi soldiers said, threatening that anyone who votes will be beheaded."



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