Electricity went out for hours across the greater Baghdad area Friday evening, plunging the capital into darkness on the eve of the country's key vote on a new constitution.
The cause of the blackout was not immediately clear. Mahmoud al-Saaedi, the head of the information office of the Electricity Ministry in Baghdad, said "technical problems" cut off electricity on lines from northern Iraq
. He said there was no sign insurgent sabotage was the cause.
"This has affected large areas of central Iraq and other large surrounding regions," he told The Associated Press. "Our crews are working on fixing them and the problem could be solved soon and the power will be back gradually."
The Baghdad skyline was black except for pinpoints of light from private generators. The blackout appeared to have affected an area of about 5,600 square kilometers (2,250 square miles).
The frequent power outages that hit Baghdad and other parts of Iraq are a constant cause of complaint by Iraqis. Friday night's blackout, however, hit a larger area than most.