Baghdad residents are relieved following the end of their city's curfew after a decade

By REUTERS
February 8, 2015 05:10
1 minute read.

 
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Residents of Baghdad enjoyed the first curfew-free night in over a decade as authorities on midnight at Sunday finally lifted restrictions on movement that had been synonymous with instability and a lack of security.

A large crowd gathered at Baghdad's central Tahrir Square to celebrate the occasion as security forces kept a visible presence on the streets.

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 Islamist who took office in September, has struggled to develop a broad support base.

Baghdad police chief Shaker Abdul Rida Asadi said the lifting of the curfew showed Iraq's security forces are becoming more competent in tackling the issue of violence.

"Iraq is under attack but under the directives of the commander in chief of the armed forces we will reduce the suffering of Iraqis by lifting the curfew in Baghdad. Necessary plans were designed at the ministries of defense and interior and at the Baghdad operations command and we have activated intelligence gathering, therefore the success of these plans is a success to the security of Baghdad," he said.

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