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One dead in Iraq's Kirkuk in suicide bombing near ballot box store, days before recount

By Mustafa Mahmoud

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - One person was killed in Iraq's Kirkuk on Sunday when a suicide car bomb went off near a storage site housing ballot boxes from a May national election, police sources said, two days before a manual recount was due to begin.

Another 20 people were wounded in the explosion. The warehouse holding the ballot boxes was not damaged, the sources said.

Iraq's parliamentary election in May was clouded by allegations of fraud. On Saturday a judges' panel announced that a recount of votes mandated by the Iraqi parliament and the courts was to kick off on Tuesday, starting with Kirkuk.

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

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's electoral list came first in the national election which saw a historically low turnout. After weeks of negotiations on forming a government, Sadr formed an alliance with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, whose electoral list came third and with second-placed Iran ally Hadi al-Amiri's bloc.

In early June, a storage site holding half of Baghdad's ballot boxes went up in flames in an incident Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described as a "plot to harm the nation and its democracy".

(Reporting by Mustafa Mahmoud; Writing by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Raya Jalabi and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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