16 killed despite curfew on fifth anniversary of fall of Saddam
VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA: The death toll in Baghdad’s Sadr City on Wednesday reached 16 as clashes between security forces and Shiite militiamen continue. This comes a day after top US commander, General David Petraeus, called for a suspension of troop withdrawals. The violence served as a stark reminder of Iraq’s continuing instability five years after US troops swept into Baghdad and toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime on April 9, 2003. On the eve of the anniversary, the Iraqi military ordered vehicles and motorcycles off the streets of Baghdad from 5 a.m. on Wednesday until midnight, a move apparently aimed at preventing Shiite gunmen from moving freely about the city. The vehicle ban was imposed despite a decision by Muqtada al-Sadr to call off his million-strong demonstration, set for Wednesday, to demand an end to the American military presence.
BRIGADIER GENERAL HUSSEIN JADOO, COMMANDER, RUSTAFA POLICE (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): We are ready to fulfill any mission assigned to us, and we are ready to meet any kind of service or emergency case the citizens need, as we are always at the disposal of the people.
NKWETA: Police earlier stated that seven people in Sadr City, including three children, died when projectiles slammed into a house in the impoverished area. Dozens more were wounded. Eyewitnesses in the area said that the attack, which occurred at 10 a.m. local time, was carried out by US helicopters. The police said the blasts were caused by mortar rounds.
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