Police chief assassinated in southern Iraq as occupation authorities plan to lift curfew in Baghdad
The US-backed police chief of the major southern Iraqi city of Amarah was shot to death as he left a mosque after prayers, officials said Saturday.
Brig. Hamid Hadi Hassan al-Abe was leaving the al-Hussein mosque after Friday prayers when he was gunned down by unidentified attackers firing from several directions, police Maj. Kathim Mohsen Hamadi said, according to The AP.
The attackers escaped, Hamadi said. Several hundred men, many of them armed with rifles and pistols, turned out Saturday for the funeral service of al-Abe.
Hamadi said al-Abe had a good relationship with British occupation authorities, who are responsible for this city some 110 kilometers north of Basra.
Meanwhile, occupation authorities on Saturday announced plans to lift the curfew and reopen a major bridge in Baghdad to ease conditions for Iraqis ahead of Ramadan.
The city council in Baghdad said the curfew would be lifted at 4 a.m. Sunday. In a separate statement, authorities said they would reopen the 14th of July Bridge later Saturday.
"The curfew can be lifted due to the reduction in the crime rate in the city and the overall improvement in the security situation," the city council statement said. "Despite some highly publicized attacks by terrorists and supporters of the former regime, the overall security situation in Baghdad has improved."
The statement urged residents to remain vigilant and report suspected criminal or "terrorist" activity to the Iraqi police or coalition authorities. (Albawaba.com)