Residents of the Iraqi capital Baghdad seemed pleased ten years of nighttime curfew are over.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the decision to lift the curfew on Thursday (February 5) and said neighbourhoods would be “demilitarised” when the ban on movement was lifted at midnight the following Saturday.
Local residents will no longer be forced to remain indoors every night between midnight and 5am.
Abbas Kamil said:
“Baghdad is a city of ghosts and this is what we see when we return late at night and the checkpoints prevent us from entering our districts. But when the curfew is lifted, the city becomes more alive. People are milling around and shopping, and as a citizen one feels safe.”
Salah al-Lami believes it is a positive step for the capital’s stability.
“With the curfew being off, there will be a kind of stability, safety and cooperation with the police, with the people and vice versa,” he said. “And this will create safety and security in the country.”
Hours before the curfew was due to be lifted at least 37 people were killed and scores wounded in three separate bomb attacks in the city.
The first blast took place in a restaurant in the Shi’ite New Baghdad district. It claimed the most lives.
The other two explosions happened in markets: one in the city centre; and another in southern Baghdad.