Allawi calls for unity; insurgents vow attacks

Residents celebrate on the street waving flowers, flags and posters of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, in Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City Monday, a day after the historic vote.

The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 12:24 a.m.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Prime Minister Ayad Allawi urged Iraqis Monday to unite behind democracy in the wake of the country's historic elections, but al-Qaeda's arm in Iraq vowed to press ahead with its "holy war" despite its failure to stop the voting by millions of Iraqis.
Partial results could be released as early as today, though final results from the hand counting of ballots could take up to 10 days, election officials said. U.S. soldiers stood guard and election workers cheered as trucks loaded with the first batch of ballots from the provinces rolled into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone for the next phase of the count.
Despite the lack of official totals from Sunday's election, officials in the main Shiite clergy-endorsed coalition claimed a large victory, which could raise tensions with Iraq's Sunni Muslims, who are thought to have largely sat out the vote.
Insurgents struck back Monday, killing three U.S. Marines in a roadside bombing south of Baghdad. Guerrillas also issued a video claiming to have shot down a British C-130 transport plane that crashed Sunday north of Baghdad. Ten 10 military personnel were missing and presumed dead. The video, aired on al-Jazeera television, showed burning wreckage purported to be that of the C-130. Its authenticity could not be confirmed.
A string of suicide bombings and other attacks on election day, killed at least 44 people.
In his first public statement since the elections, Allawi called on Iraqis to join together to build a society shattered by decades of war, Saddam Hussein's tyranny, economic sanctions, military occupation and insurgency.
"The terrorists now know that they cannot win," Allawi said. "We are entering a new era of our history and all Iraqis - whether they voted or not - should stand side by side to build their future."
Meanwhile, in southern Iraq, U.S. troops opened fire on detainees rioting Monday at the Camp Bucca prison facility, killing four people, the U.S. command said. The unrest broke out during a search for contraband and quickly spread. After warnings and nonlethal methods failed to halt it, "lethal force was used," the military said.
Local polling stations worked through the night to count ballots - by oil lamp at one Najaf site after power went off. By Monday afternoon, the count at all 5,200 stations nationwide was completed, and local centers were forwarding tally sheets and ballots to Baghdad, where vote totals will be compiled in computers and then announced, election officials said.
With turnout figures expected to take some time, concern was high that Sunnis - who make up the backbone of the insurgency - largely stayed out of the vote and may be alienated from the government that emerges.
The group al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, vowed to "continue the jihad (holy war) until the banner of (Islamic) unity flutters over Iraq."
Allawi promised to work to ensure that "the voice of all Iraqis is present in the coming government."
The top candidate in the main Shiite coalition made a similar pledge. "We are still insisting to form a partnership government including all segments of the Iraqi people," Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim of the United Iraqi Alliance told Al-Arabiya television.
Although no partial results have been released, political parties were allowed to observe the counting at local stations. That led members of the Alliance, which was endorsed by Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to say they expect to win about 45 percent of the 275 Assembly seats up for grabs in the election. Allawi's ticket was running second among the 111 candidate lists.

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