Iraqi authorities impose vehicle bans

Iraqi authorities announced a ban on vehicles and celebratory gunfire around Baghdad in an effort to prevent a repeat of violence that killed dozens celebrating Iraq's progress to Sunday's finals of Asia's top soccer tournament.

 Iraqi authorities impose vehicle bans
Iraqi authorities announced a ban on vehicles and celebratory gunfire around Baghdad in an effort to prevent a repeat of violence that killed dozens celebrating Iraq's progress to Sunday's finals of Asia's top soccer tournament.

Government offices also told employees to go home early as the nation braced for anticipated massive street parties in the event of an Iraqi win against Saudi Arabia. A victory was expected to send thousands of people into the streets to celebrate — as they did after earlier games in the runup to the finals.

The office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement that it had planned to send a Cabinet delegation to the game, but that it was not possible to organize a charter flight due to technical issues related to "the flight's path and overflight permissions by countries through which the plane would have to cross en route to Jakarta."

The statement did not single out any countries or give more details.

The jubilation over the ascension of the team known as the "Lions of the Two Rivers" to Sunday's final in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the quarterfinals and semifinals gave Iraqis a rare respite from the daily violence. The victorious run sent men of all ages cheering and dancing in the streets in what politicians said was a show of unity that proved Iraqi factions could come together.

Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the vehicle ban in Baghdad would begin half an hour before the game, at 4 p.m. local time and would last until 6 a.m. Monday.

The ban would include all vehicles as well bicycles, motorcycles and carts in a bid to keep "criminals from targeting the joy of the people over the achievements of the Iraqi national team," al-Moussawi said in an announcement broadcast on Iraqi state television.

The U.S. military also said it would position troops as necessary to maintain security nationwide.

Authorities also warned that anybody firing weapons in the air illegally would be arrested, after celebratory gunfire killed at least seven people in the aftermath of previous victories.


AP
Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Temmuz 2007, 16:30
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