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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he sees surprisingly little violence associated with the Iraq elections and that security improvements have forced al Qaeda-linked militants to change tactics.

Gates told reporters Sunday that he’s been briefed on the voting by the top U.S. general in Iraq, Ray Odierno . He said turnout is as high or higher than expectations.

He said, “All in all, a good day for the Iraqis and for all of us.”

Gates said he was told about “a handful” of militant attacks that caused injuries. But Gates said there’s been no confirmed mortar or indirect fire attacks on Baghdad. He said that in the South, in eight of nine provinces there were no security incidents at all during the voting.

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