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Published:April 9th, 2008 02:42 EST
Baghdad commemorates liberation with curfew

Baghdad commemorates liberation with curfew

By SOP newswire

The Iraqi government has imposed a one-day curfew on Baghdad for Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the day U.S. forces overtook the city.

Officials say cars and motorcycles are banned from the streets from five in the morning to midnight local time.

On Tuesday, radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced he was canceling an anti-U.S. demonstration in Baghdad planned for Wednesday, out of concern that his followers would be attacked.

Fighting between U.S. forces and Shi'ite militias has intensified in recent days in the capital's Sadr City district, where at least 13 people were killed Tuesday.

Sadr also has threatened to lift a seven-month old ceasefire by his Mahdi Army militia that has been credited with a sharp overall reduction in violence.

In other news, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Tuesday condemned recent rocket attacks against the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in Baghdad.

Iranian state media say Hosseini also deplored civilian deaths and denounced U.S. forces for attacks on Sadr City and the southern city of Basra. He said Iran hopes that peace and security will be restored within Iraq soon.

Fighting has intensified in Iraq since Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on Shi'ite militias last month.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.