Iraqis cast ballots in 2 Sunni-dominated provinces amid tight security measures

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Iraqi state TV says voters have begun casting ballots in two Sunni-dominated provinces amid tight security aimed at thwarting insurgent attempts to disrupt the elections.

The balloting comes amid rising sectarian tensions and deteriorating security in Iraq. The two provinces — Anbar and Ninevah — have been the scene of rallies against the Shiite-led government.

A vehicle ban was implemented in major cities in the provinces as voting got underway for candidates who will serve on provincial-level councils. Thousands of policemen and soldiers were deployed to secure Thursday's vote.

Iraqis voted in 12 other provinces two months ago. Officials had delayed elections in Anbar and Ninevah because of what they said were security concerns.