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Violence continues in lead up to Iraqi electi -

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Violence continues in lead up to Iraqi election

AM - Tuesday, 4 January , 2005 08:20:24

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

ELEANOR HALL: To Iraq now and as officials prepare for the national elections scheduled for the end
of this month, violence continues to destabilise the country.

Twenty-seven Iraqis, mainly soldiers and police, have died in attacks across the country in the
last 24 hours, one of which was a suicide bomb blast at the offices of Interim Prime Minister Iyad
Allawi.

Yesterday, a car bomb killed 23-member of Iraq's security forces.

And ominously, Iraq's intelligence chief now says there are more than 200,000 insurgents in his
country, outnumbering the US military presence.

This report from Rafael Epstein.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: What's disturbing is the number of attacks on Iraq's new National Guard and police
force. The very people charged with making sure Iraqis can vote in safety, attacked because of what
they represent, the new US-backed Government.

In Baghdad, the Iraqi Prime Minister was not at the headquarters of his political party when four
people were killed there by a suicide bomber.

Seven guardsmen were killed in Dujail 40 kilometres north of the capital by another suicide car
bomb. Four guardsmen died outside that town when a car bomb exploded near their checkpoint at a US
military base. Eighteen guardsmen were killed in a similar attack in the same area the day before.
Further north, 11 national guardsmen were killed in roadside bombs in Tikrit and Samarra.

Two policemen were killed by gunmen in a car in the refinery town of Baiji, and another policeman
was killed in northern Iraq by a booby-trapped corpse.

Speaking from his home in Baghdad, Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie.

MOWAFFAQ AL-RUBAIE: Well we expect these attacks to get worse as we are so determined to go ahead
with the election on the 30th of January. The terrorists and the Saddamists and the al-Zarqawis and
the al-Qaeda in Iraq are also determined to disrupt the elections.

On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people are determined to go ahead with
the election.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: What chance do you think there is of an election that is seen as legitimate, if
your intelligence chief - Iraq's intelligence chief - believes that there are more than 200,000
Iraqis active in the insurgency? That's more than the entire US forces inside Iraq?

MOWAFFAQ AL-RUBAIE: Probably more than 75 to 80 per cent of Iraqis are going to take part in the
election. We have 10 million voters. If five million turn up in the election we will be more than
happy with that result.

RAPHAEL EPSTEIN: But you'd still see an election as legitimate if perhaps only three-quarters of
the eligible voters turned up?

MOWAFFAQ AL-RUBAIE: Absolutely, if it's three-quarters of the eligible voters turn up in the
election, that will be very happy with that. And I mean after all in all great democracies, we're
talking about 50-55 per cent of the eligible voters turn up at the election boxes.

ELEANOR HALL: Iraq's National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie in that report from Raphael
Epstein.