Iraqis Celebrate Lifting of Curfew After 12 Years

Iraqis Celebrate Lifting of Curfew After 12 Years
Sun Feb 8, 2015 11:12:17

People in Baghdad have been celebrating the lifting of a 12-year-old curfew in the Iraqi capital.

On Sunday morning, Baghdad residents drove around freely in their vehicles, flying flags and honking horns after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered an end to the curfew that used to be in place from midnight to 5:00 a.m. (1800 to 0200 GMT).

Security forces members, who once stopped drivers past curfew hours instead stood by and watched the jubilant public mood.

The curfew largely had been in place since 2004. Its imposition was in response to the growing sectarian violence that engulfed Iraq after the US-led invasion a year earlier.

The end of the curfew came hours after bombs exploded in and around the Iraqi capital, killing at least 40 people. Iraqi officials have, however, repeatedly assured residents that the capital is secure.

Brigadier General Saad Maan, the spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, said on Thursday that Abadi had made the decision on Wednesday when he was briefed on the security situation of Baghdad during a visit to the command headquarters.