Iraq gets ready to referendum on new charter amid attacks
Five attacks against the largest Sunni political party were reported on the eve of Iraq's referendum, bombing and burning offices and the home of one of its leaders in retaliation after the group dropped its opposition to the draft constitution. No injuries were reported.
Earlier, Iraq closed its borders on Friday one day ahead of a referendum on a new charter, boosting security to prevent more attacks by armed groups.
Barricades were put in place around polling stations in Baghdad and other cities. According to Reuters, an overnight curfew took effect on Thursday and private vehicles were banned from the roads entirely from Friday night to Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, an Iraqi Sunni leader said on Friday he expected Iraqi voters to reject the new constitution, stressing that last-minute amendments to the charter still fell short of the Sunnis's aspirations .
"There will be a 'No'," Industry Minister Usama Abdul Aziz al-Najafi, a Sunni cabinet ministers, told reporters during a visit to Malaysia. "It doesn't represent the aspirations of all Iraqis," he said. "The changes...were not enough to ratify the constitution." The Sunnis are fearing the new charter will sideline them in favour of the Shi'ite majority and its Kurdish allies