Islamic State threatens polling station attacks ahead of Iraq vote

Campaign posters of local candidates are seen ahead of the parliamentary election, in Baghdad, Iraq, April 14, 2018. REUTERS/Khalid Al-Mousily

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State said it would attack polling stations in Iraq during parliamentary election next month and that anyone who participated in the vote would be considered an infidel.

In an audio message released late on Sunday, the militant group’s spokesman accused Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government of being a proxy of Iran and warned that anyone who runs or votes in the May 12 election would be targeted. Iraqi officials have said polling stations will be well protected.

“We warn you Sunnis of Iraq of these people (Shi’ites) taking power. Polling stations are a target for us, so stay away from them,” said Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in December over Islamic State, which seized a third of Iraq in 2014, but the hardline Sunni militants have reverted to insurgency tactics following the crumbling of their self-declared caliphate.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Catherine Evans