Iraq poll results will be 'blow to ISIL': Minister

The success of Iraqi parliamentary polls, currently underway, will be a blow to the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Levant group

The success of Iraqi parliamentary polls, currently underway, will be a blow to the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Levant group

BAGHDAD – The success of Iraqi parliamentary polls, currently underway, will be a blow to the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group, which the government has been battling for months, Iraq's transport minister said Wednesday.

"The election results will be a blow to the terrorist ISIL organization and anyone else who sought to undermine Iraqis," Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri told Anadolu Agency.

"We insisted on holding the vote on schedule against everyone who was betting that we would postpone it," he said.

Polls opened Wednesday amid a host of security concerns for Iraq's first parliamentary elections since the withdrawal of U.S. troops three years ago.

Around 20 million Iraqi voters are eligible to select 328 lawmakers.

Iraqis began flocking to polling stations across the country at 4am (GMT) to elect members of the new assembly.

The vote will take place amid myriad security challenges inside Iraq, particularly in the western and northern parts of the country, where since last December government troops have battled militant groups that Baghdad says are linked to Al-Qaeda.

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