First curfew-free night in Baghdad in a decade

2015-02-08 17:53
Curfew-free Baghdad. (AP)

Curfew-free Baghdad. (AP)

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Baghdad - Businesses in Baghdad kept their doors open until early on Sunday for the first time in a decade, marking the end of the city's night time curfew despite frequent attacks by extremists.

Young men honked and waved the national flag as they drove their cars through Baghdad's streets, celebrating the end of the curfew, which had been imposed in 2004.

"Some stores and markets saw an unprecedented turnout of customers until late hours of [Saturday] night while some restaurants remained open until Sunday morning," Brigadier Safaa al-Abeedi, a senior Baghdad police officer, said.

Hours before the lifting of the curfew, Baghdad was rocked on Saturday by bombings that left at least 30 people dead.

On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the curfew lifted and the re-opening of streets sealed off by security forces.

The measure comes as government troops, backed by a US-led military coalition, are battling to drive the militant Islamic State (ISIS) group out of territory in northern and western Iraq.

Since taking office in September, al-Abadi has moved to relax the security measures and normalize life in Baghdad.

Despite the fact that the Islamic State overran large Sunni-populated areas in Iraq last year, analysts say the jihadi Sunni militia does not pose an immediate threat to Baghdad, which has a Shi'ite majority.

Read more on:    iraq

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