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Cucolo offers Iraqi elections update
0310Iraq report
An Iraqi holds up his ink-stained finger after casting his vote Sunday. Voters’ fingers are marked to prevent them from voting twice. - photo by Photo provided.

In a 3rd Infantry Division Facebook posting at 5:02 a.m. Monday, after polls in Iraq had closed, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo gave Iraqi security forces and 3rd ID soldiers high marks for keeping the peace during Iraq’s elections Sunday.

"It’s a little after 2200 (10 p.m.) hours," Cucolo wrote. "We still have QRFs out across the battle space with some tired Marne soldiers making sure their Iraqi counterparts get those ballots to the security of the ballot warehouses – where more tired Marne soldiers are with their Iraqi partners guarding the warehouses at the request of the Iraqi government.

"It was a great day," Cucolo said. "Our most dangerous place — Ninewa — was declared by Al Jazeera midday today, ‘the safest place in Iraq to vote.’

"The enemy threw everything they had at our Diyala Province; 66 different events — including IEDs, attacks and indirect fire — and of 36 direct attacks, only four caused any damage or casualties. The Iraqis stepped up, kicked butt and the citizens walked right through it."

Cucolo said voter turnout numbers were still being tallied Sunday, but estimated 60-70 percent of Iraqi voters went to the polls.

"Remember, this is the first time they are voting for people, individual candidates and not some party or list," the general wrote. "Democracy lives in the Middle East. I am proud of these people and our soldiers."

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