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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 July 2018

One killed in car bomb near to ballot box site in Iraq's Kirkuk

At least 20 people were injured in the blast

Iraq Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) officers at the scene of a car bomb outside warehouses where ballots from the May 12 parliamentary vote were stored in Kirkuk, on July 1, 2018. Marwan Ibrahim / AFP
Iraq Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) officers at the scene of a car bomb outside warehouses where ballots from the May 12 parliamentary vote were stored in Kirkuk, on July 1, 2018. Marwan Ibrahim / AFP

At least one person was killed in a car bomb explosion in Kirkuk on Sunday near a storage site housing ballot boxes from the Iraqi elections in May, two days before a manual recount was due to start.

Police said at least 20 people, most of whom were police officers stationed to protect the site, were injured.

The driver detonated the vehicle before reaching the entrance of the warehouse after officers guarding the facility opened fire, police sources said, according to Reuters.

Rakan Al Juburi, the governor of Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, said the building was damaged by the blast but the ballot boxes were unaffected.

The attack is the latest development in the elections saga following the vote, that was marred by low turnout and allegations of fraud.

Iraq’s supreme court ordered a recount of ballots on June 21, following an earlier resolution passed by parliament.

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The law passed by the outgoing parliament also suspended the Independent High Election Commission's nine-member board of commissioners and replaced them with judges.

And on June 10, a fire at Baghdad’s largest ballot storage warehouse raised suspicions that unknown persons were trying to destroy evidence of vote rigging.

However, the panel of judges now in charge of the elections commission recount said on Monday that it would only be conducted in contested areas.

The judges said they would only manually recount problematic ballots "out of respect for the will of voters and their rights … and to preserve their vote which came without any violation".