Iraq closes borders with Syria, Iran for 72 hours

The Iraqi commander of the Baghdad security crackdown said Tuesday that Iraq planned to close its borders with Syria and Iran for 72 hours as part of the drive to secure the Iraqi capital. Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, addressing the nation on behalf of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, did not say when the borders would be closed, but a government official said this was expected in the next two days. The official said the borders with Iran would only be partially reopened three days after their closure. The United States has long charged that Iran and Syria were allowing militants to use their territory to slip into Iraq to launch attacks against US and Iraqi forces as well as civilian Iraqi Shi'ites. Iraqi authorities have routinely echoed the US charges against Syria, but they rarely accused Iran of the same.