Streets empty as Baghdad marks Saddam's fall

 

Baghdad's streets were empty of cars and trucks on Wednesday as Iraq marked the fifth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime with the capital under curfew.


The Baghdad military command declared a 5am to midnight vehicle curfew to prevent car bomb attacks by Sunni insurgents on the anniversary of his ouster by US invading forces.

The streets of the capital were largely deserted as people mostly stayed indoors.

The authorities have also declared a public holiday across the country.

The movement of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr had called a mass anti-American demonstration in Baghdad to mark the anniversary but cancelled it on Tuesday.

"I call upon the Iraqi people to postpone the march. I am afraid for them. I want to save Iraqi blood. I am afraid that an Iraqi may lay his hand on them," Sadr said in a statement issued by his office in the holy city of Najaf.

Sadr's Mahdi Army militia has since Sunday been battling US and Iraqi security forces in Sadr City, the cleric's east Baghdad bastion, in sporadic but fierce clashes which have killed more than 40 people and wounded dozens.

An Iraqi security official said Sadr City was calm on Wednesday although gunfire was heard sporadically.

A cople of mortar rounds were fired elsewhere in the capital but did not cause serious injuries, he added. (AFP)
 
 
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