Monday, September 10, 2007


Karbala shrines open, curfew reduced

(Voices of Iraq) - Visitors to the Shiite sacred city of Karbala were able on Monday to visit Karbala city that hosts shrines holiest to the Shiite Muslims after three weeks of tough security measures which banned visitors from entry to the city following fierce clashes that took place during an observance of a Shiite occasion, a senior security official said on Monday. "All Karbala outlets have been open before all visitors seeking entry to the city since today at 6:00 am," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Karbala local authorities decided to seal off all outlets to the Shiite sacred city before visitors for the last three weeks as a precautionary measure to prevent any security violation after clashes erupted between security forces and gunmen in the area between the Shrines of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammed, and his brother Abbas while Karbala was receiving hundreds thousands of Shiite pilgrims who walked from different parts of Iraq to observe the birth anniversary of the 12th Shiite Imam al-Mahdi.
On Sunday, Major-General Othman al-Ghanmi, Karbala Operation Commander, told a news conference "all Karbala city outlets will be open before visitors as of Monday dawn and people will be able to enter to the area linking the two shrines of Imam Hussein and Abbas." The Iraqi commander also said "the hours of night curfew on the city will be reduced one hour so that as of Monday the night curfew will start from 10:00 pm till 6:00 am."
Over the next weeks, General al-Ghanmi said "the night curfew will be totally lifted and Karbala will be back as it was before the latest incidents without a night curfew." Three weeks ago, 35 people were killed and 130 were wounded after clashes broke out between gunmen and security forces in the city sacred to the Shiite Muslims.

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