TIKRIT, Iraq, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Four paramilitary Hashd Shaabi fighters were killed Saturday in a bomb attack while protecting the polling centers in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a provincial police source said.
Three others were wounded in the attack, said the same source.
The incident took place in the morning when a roadside bomb went off near a Hashd Shaabi patrol tasked with securing roads leading to polling centers in Mes'hag area, some 50 km north of the provincial capital Tikrit, Colonel Mohammed al-Jubouri told Xinhua.
On Friday, another provincial source reportedly said that six suicide bombers wearing explosive belts were killed when a joint force from Iraqi army police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi raided their hideout in Rufai'at area, some 80 km southwest of Tikrit.
The operation was based on intelligence reports about a group of Islamic State (IS) militants preparing for carrying out attacks on polling centers during Saturday's elections in several areas in the province.
Early on Saturday, more than 24 million Iraqis are eligible to vote in up to 8,959 polling centers across Iraq in the first general election since Iraq's historical victory over the IS militants last December.
The predominately Sunni Arab province of Salahudin has been the scene of a major offensive by Iraqi security forces and allied Hashd Shaabi units to drive out Islamic State (IS) militants from the provincial key cities and towns, including its capital city Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad.
On Dec. 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.
However, small groups and individuals of IS militants melted in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rugged areas in many areas in Iraq looking for safe havens. They are still capable of carrying out attacks from time to time against the security forces and civilians.