Baghdad under total daylight curfew
Baghdad under total daylight curfew
Sep 30, 7:53 AM (ET)
By Peter Graff
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq imposed a total daylight
curfew on Baghdad on Saturday, banning all movement,
as U.S. forces said they had foiled a possible suicide
plot to attack the city's sprawling "Green Zone"
U.S. troops on Friday arrested a security guard at the
home of the leader of the main Sunni political bloc.
The U.S. military said on Saturday the man was
suspected of planning car bomb attacks on the
"Coalition force personnel detained an individual at
the residence of Dr Adnan al-Dulaimi in Baghdad
September 29. The detained individual is suspected of
involvement in the planning of a multi-vehicle suicide
operation inside Baghdad's International Zone," the
military said in a statement.
It said the man may have been linked to al Qaeda, and
the plan might have been to use suicide vests in the
attack. U.S. forces did not enter Dulaimi's house, but
searched a security trailer there and the suspect's
car, it said.
Dulaimi leads the Accordance Front, the largest Sunni
bloc in parliament, which is also housed inside the
A senior official in the Front named the arrested man
as Khudhar Farhan and said he was in his mid-20s and
had joined Dulaimi's security staff about a month ago.
Farhan did not have a security pass to enter the Green
Zone, he said.
Dulaimi himself told Reuters on Friday he expected the
man to be released. He denied a report from a police
source that his son was detained.
There was no official explanation for the curfew,
which emptied streets. A political source said it was
linked to fears that security in the Green Zone had
been compromised. He said access for all but the most
senior officials had been curtailed.
The 5 sq km (2 sq mile) riverside compound once
occupied by Saddam Hussein is home to thousands,
including most senior officials and the U.S. and
In March, Iraq jailed several defense officials
accused of a plot to infiltrate hundreds of al Qaeda
fighters into the Zone's security force.
Another senior Iraqi official said the curfew was
imposed because of fears of more widespread unrest
after a bloody first week of the Muslim holy month of
Ramadan, during which the U.S. military said suicide
attacks had hit a record high.
The curfew would remain in place until 6 a.m. (0200
GMT) on Sunday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's
office said. The U.S. military said the curfew was the
Iraqi government's decision, and such measures had
proven effective in the past.
The massive surge in sectarian killings since February
has been marked by dozens of corpses being found
nearly every day dumped in the streets of Baghdad,
bound, tortured and shot.
Sunni Arabs say some of the killings are carried out
by Shi'ite death squads with links to the government
and police. Increasingly, U.S. officials have backed
up such claims.
One senior U.S. military official this week said
police had allowed death squads to re-enter areas
already cleared by U.S. forces in a seven-week-old
crackdown in the capital.
Washington's ambassador to Iraq threatened to cut off
funding for the Iraqi police if the government failed
to punish police officials for torture and human
Zalmay Khalilzad said in an interview with the New
York Times that he had faith in the motives of Iraq's
new Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, in charge of
the police since June.
But he said U.S. officials were reviewing programs
under a law named after Democratic Senator Patrick
Leahy that bans U.S. funding for armies and police
forces that violate human rights.
Outside Baghdad, a suicide car bomb targeting an Iraqi
army checkpoint in the northern town of Tal Afar
killed two people and wounded 30. Other bombs struck
in Mosul and Kirkuk in the north and in Iskanderiya
south of Baghdad.
In Washington, where Iraq has become a crucial
political issue ahead of a congressional election in
November, the U.S. Congress voted to block the Bush
administration from building permanent bases in Iraq
or taking control of its oil sector.