Putting aside the daily reports of the Islamic State’s threat and of violence — including the deaths of almost 40 people in four bombings in Baghdad on Saturday — people celebrated through the night after the lifting of an 11-year night-time curfew in Iraq’s capital.
The curfew, which has been from midnight to 5 a.m. since 2008, aimed at curbing attacks in Baghdad by limiting movement.
As midnight approached, people gathered at Tahrir Square, where city officials threw a party, and in Mansour Mall where shops stayed open beyond their normal closing time of 11 p.m.
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, seeking to reassure Iraqis after the battle against the Islamic State’s advances since last spring, ordered the move to return “normal life as much as possible, despite the existence of a state of war”, according to his office.
Al-Abadi also called for the lifting of roadblocks and restrictions on both arms carried by militias and on security vehicles used by officials.