Reports: Violence stains first Iraq vote since US withdrawal

Another bomb was detonated near a polling center in Jibala, in the south, the Associated Press reported, and mortars rounds hit a station in Baghdad. 

For the most part, however, the process was moving smoothly, the AP reported, citing United Nations officials monitoring the elections. No deaths had been reported, the news agencies said, which is seen as progress surrounding an election cycle in which no fewer than a dozen candidates were killed leading up to Saturday's vote.

The elections for provincial council seats are the first in Iraq since President Obama pulled U.S. troops from the embattled country in December of 2011, almost a decade after the United States invaded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Saturday's vote is being watched closely as a precursor of next year's national parliamentary elections.

Local terrorist groups, including a wing of al-Qaeda and Sunni rebels, have intensified their attacks this year in hopes of overturning the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.