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Kerry praises courageous Iraqi voters for defying extremists

Published on Apr 30, 2014 11:55 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday praised the millions of Iraqis who "courageously voted" in general elections, saying many had acted "heroically" in standing up to militant threats.

"With ink-stained thumbs, Iraqi voters sent a powerful rebuke to the violent extremists who have tried to thwart democratic progress and sow discord in Iraq and throughout the region," Mr Kerry said in a statement.

Queues had formed from early morning at tightly-guarded polling stations across Iraq despite a surge of violence before the elections targeting campaign gatherings and early voting by security personnel.

They were the first parliamentary polls since US forces withdrew in December 2011, and some analysts had voiced fears that a wave of extremist violence which has killed 90 people in just two days would scare voters away.

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