Security

Tight security in Baghdad during Eid al-Fitr

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqis shop for clothing at a recently opened mall in Baghdad, where heightened security is in place for Eid al-Fitr. [Photo from Baghdad1 Facebook page]

Iraqi forces have imposed tight security measures in Baghdad during the Eid al-Fitr holiday to safeguard city residents against acts of terrorism, local officials told Diyaruna on Monday (June 26th).

Recreation facilities and public parks are surrounded with security cordons, while fixed and mobile checkpoints equipped with canine units have been deployed on main streets and at the entrances of residential neighbourhoods, they said.

"Iraqi forces have raised their security alert in order not to give the terrorists a chance to spoil citizens' joy or threaten their safety during Eid," said Iraqi MP Iskandar Witwit, who serves on the parliamentary security and defence committee.

The measures focus on places of worship, religious centres, public parks, recreation areas, markets and shopping malls, which are usually very busy during Eid, he told Diyaruna.

"Joint army-police-intelligence checkpoints have been set up at street entrances to search vehicles and check owners' documents and identification," he said.

Some roads, including those leading to al-Zawra and Sinbad Land amusement parks and major commercial streets such as al-Karrada and al-Mansour, have been temporarily sealed off to traffic.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transportation, in co-operation with the Baghdad mayoralty, has been providing free bus transportation to public parks.

Through a variety of media, the traffic directorate has guided vehicle owners to alternative routes to ensure smooth traffic flow and avoid congestion.

"Intelligence efforts have been intensified to discover terror cells and repel attacks before they take place," Witwit said, adding that "citizens are key partners in security, and this partnership must be further consolidated".

Security agencies also have set up hotlines (130, 400, 131 and 153) to enable people to report suspicious movements, persons and vehicles to the authorities.

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