Iraq government announces one-day vehicle ban in Baghdad and outskirts

The government announced Thursday a one-day ban on private vehicles in Baghdad and its outskirts following a surge of violence.

The ban takes effect when the overnight curfew ends at 6 a.m. Friday and will last until 4 p.m., according to a statement issued by the prime minister's office.

Police and army were instructed to seal off the capital and seize any private vehicles that defy the ban.

The move was designed to avert attacks on Friday, when Muslims attend the most important prayer service of the week.

Hundreds of Iraqis have been killed since the Feb. 22 bombing of a revered Shiite shrine unleashed a wave sectarian violence. An extraordinary daytime curfew and vehicle restrictions last weekend helped curb the worst of the sectarian killing, but attacks continued this week.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari decided to re-impose the vehicle restrictions "because of the sensitive security situation our beloved country is passing through," said the statement read on Iraqiya television, reports AP.


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