Iran to close Iraq border crossing for 4 days

Iran announced on Wednesday it would close down a border crossing with Iraq, a day after two suspected al-Qaida operatives were detained after crossing that checkpoint, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The agency quoted Khaled Rahimi, the governor of the border town of Mehran, as saying that that the checkpoint at Mehran, 760 kilometers southwest of the capital, Teheran, would be closed for four days for individual travelers, starting on Thursday. Most of the people passing through there are Shi'ite pilgrims from both Iran and Iraq, traveling to holy Shi'ite sites in either country. Over 5,000 people are believed to pass the border point daily. "The transit of pilgrims will be banned for four days ... after both Iraqi and Iranian side agreed on it. The decision was made based on measures by the US forces in Iraq," Rahimi said, without elaborating.