Iraqis started voting in their war-shattered nation's second parliamentary election since the US-led overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, as mortars and bombs rocked Baghdad. Under a blanket of tight security designed to thwart insurgents attacks, Iraqis went to the polls on foot Sunday in an election testing the ability of the country's still-fragile democracy to move forward at a time of uncertainty over a looming U.S. troop drawdown and still jagged sectarian divisions.
An Iraqi soldier providing security sits at a school desk on the street near a polling station as Iraqis cast their votes in the parliamentary elections Sunday, March 7, 2010 in Nasiriyah, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, in Iraq.
Matt Ford | AP Photo
Iraqis are searched as they queue up to cast their vote for the parliamentary election, at a polling center in Ramadi, Iraq, Sunday, March 7, 2010.
Khalid Mohammed | AP Photo
Prospective voters search for their names on registration lists to vote in the parliamentary elections in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 7, 2010.
Hadi Mizban | AP Photo
An Iraqi girl hides under her mother's head-to-toe niqab as she casts her ballot at a polling station in Baghdad's Shiite bastion of Sadr City on March 7, 2010. Dozens of mortars rained down on Baghdad and at least 16 people were killed in dynamite attacks as Iraqis voted in an election that Al-Qaeda has threatened to sabotage, security officials said.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE | AFP/Getty Images
An Iraqi man casts his vote for the parliamentary election, at a polling center in Ramadi, Iraq, Sunday, March 7, 2010.
Khalid Mohammed | AP Photo
Electoral workers start the sorting and counting process for the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 7, 2010. Polls have closed in Iraq's parliamentary elections after a spate of attacks that marred the vote left 31 people dead, despite tight security.
Karim Kadim | AP Photo
An Iraqi man with an ink-stained finger holds prayer beads after casting his vote at a polling station in central Baghdad on March 7, 2010.
JOSEPH EID | AFP/Getty Images
An Iraqi woman holds her passport and shows her ink-stained finger after casting a vote in her country's parliamentary elections at a polling station in Harasta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria Saturday, March 6, 2010. Thousands of Iraqi living aboard lined up at polling stations for the second day to cast ballots in their homeland's crucial parliamentary elections. Voting outside Iraq will be held for three days, while in Iraq most voters go to the polls on Sunday, choosing a 325-seat legislature.
Bassem Tellawi | AP Photo
IAn Iraqi man on a bicycle covered with raqi flags displays his inked finger after casting his vote for the parliamentary election, in Najaf, Iraq, Sunday, March 7, 2010.
Alaa al-Marjani | AP Photo