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story.lead_photo.caption An Iraqi Kurdish woman shows her ink-stained finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Irbil, north of Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Iraq is holding its third parliamentary elections since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. - Photo by AP

BAGHDAD — Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and other violence to vote Wednesday in parliamentary elections amid a security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife.

Hundreds of thousands of troops and police fanned out to protect the first nationwide balloting since the 2011 U.S. pullout. Scattered attacks still took place north and west of Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding 16.

Baghdad looked deserted, with police and soldiers manning checkpoints roughly 500 yards apart and pickups mounted with machine guns roaming the streets that were otherwise devoid of the usual traffic jams.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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