No voting in Iraq's militant-held areas: Anbar governor

BAGHDAD – Residents of militant-held cities and towns in Iraq's western Anbar province will have to leave their neighborhoods to cast ballots in upcoming parliamentary elections, Anbar Governor Ahmed al-Dulaimi said.

Al-Dulaimi told Anadolu Agency Wednesday that Iraq's electoral commission would "monitor the affairs" of residents of militant-held areas – along with those who have been internally displaced – who wish to cast ballots.

"Residents of [militant-seized towns] can participate in elections, but from outside their cities if they can manage to leave," the governor said.

Electoral campaigning kicked off Tuesday ahead of April 30 parliamentary polls, in which over nine thousand candidates will vie for 328 assembly seats.

Polls will be held as Anbar's key cities of Fallujah and Al-Karama, along with parts of provincial capital Ramadi, remain outside government control since having been seized early this year by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militant group.

Since last December, the Iraqi army has mounted a major offensive in the Sunni-majority province with the stated aim of flushing ISIL militants – who Baghdad claims are linked to Al-Qaeda – out of Ramadi and Fallujah.

Hundreds have since been killed and injured in the two cities, according to government officials.

Local Sunni tribes, meanwhile, have continued to voice anger over the army operation's mounting civilian death toll.

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