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Tags: Iraq | curfew | war | bombing

As Baghdad Lifts Curfew, Bombs Are Reminder of Country at War

Saturday, 07 February 2015 04:25 PM EST

Five blasts across Baghdad on Saturday tempered Iraqis' anticipation of a more relaxed and accessible capital as the government prepared to lift a night-time curfew that has kept the city on a war-time footing for more than a decade.

At least 37 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the explosions, security and medical sources said, and dozens of others were wounded.

The attacks included a suicide bombing at a restaurant in a Shi'ite neighborhood and improvised explosive devices planted in a bustling central market district, underscoring the peril ordinary people still face from militant violence in Baghdad.

Bombings have waned and waxed for nearly 12 years, but they have not ceased since the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Ending the curfew and "demilitarizing" several neighborhoods is part of a campaign to normalize life in Iraq's war-blighted capital. Officials hope to demonstrate that Baghdad no longer faces a threat from Islamic State, the militant group which seized large areas of northern and western Iraq last year.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shi'ite who took office in September, has struggled to develop a broad support base.

Improving quality of life in Baghdad could represent a small but tangible achievement as he seeks to turn back the tide against Islamic State while mending rifts between polarized sectarian communities that have stoked violence.

"This will benefit us greatly, because we have felt imprisoned for the past 11 years," a shopper in the central Karrada district said hours before the curfew was set to end.

"This is the bravest decision that Haider al-Abadi has taken. This shows that the country is somewhat safe."

Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said he did not believe Saturday's explosions were linked to the government's decision this week to lift the midnight to 5 a.m. curfew on Saturday at midnight.

Security forces pressed ahead with plans to end the curfew, setting up mobile checkpoints to forestall bombings and criminal acts like kidnapping, which has became more common since last summer.

© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
Five blasts across Baghdad on Saturday tempered Iraqis' anticipation of a more relaxed and accessible capital as the government prepared to lift a night-time curfew that has kept the city on a war-time footing for more than a decade.At least 37 people, mostly civilians,...
Iraq, curfew, war, bombing
336
2015-25-07
Saturday, 07 February 2015 04:25 PM
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