Defying orders from authorities, celebratory gunfire resounded across Baghdad and revelers poured into the streets after Iraq beat Saudi Arabia to clinch its first Asian Cup soccer championship on Sunday while mosques broadcast calls for the shooting to stop.
Security forces, meanwhile, enforced a vehicle ban in an effort to prevent a repeat of car bombings that killed dozens celebrating Iraq's progress to the finals in Asia's top soccer tournament.
Iraqis welcomed the victory as a chance to show the world they can come together and expressed frustration that their politicians couldn't do the same.
"Those heroes have shown the real Iraq. They have done something useful for the people as opposed to the politicians and lawmakers who are stealing or killing each other," said Sabah Shaiyal, a 43-year-old policeman in Baghdad. "The players have made us proud, not the greedy politicians. One again our national team has shown that there is only one, united Iraq."
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